One of the world’s most exclusive members’ clubs Annabel’s – founded in 1963 by Mark Birley – is set to re-launch in London any time soon, with the venue not moving very far… Two doors down in fact, from 44 Berkley Square in the ritzy Mayfair neighbourhood to number 46.
It’s Rude To Stare got a sneak peek as to what regulars can expect and I can promise, they’re in for a real hoot with four floors of fun awaiting, topped off with a mescal bar boasting one of the largest collection of tequilas at close to 600 bottles.
Think opulence and old London glory with four restaurants, seven bars, two private dining rooms and a cigar room to play with. If you still have energy, the basement night club promises to put you through your paces.
Topping it all off is the theatrical interior design, courtesy of Martin Brudnizki, the man behind the breathtaking innards of Sexy Fish and The Ivy. Think lashings of gold leaf, jungle print, and swathes of soft leather and velvet.
The finishing touches are just being put in place but already the new Annabel’s is hot stuff, with fashion magazines and stylists vying to be first through the doors.
Getting us in to the Annabel’s swing of the things we met the venue’s bar manager, Frankie Santos, over at Mark’s Club – another one of Birley’s joints – to taste some of his infamous concoctions.
So, if you don’t manage to get through the doors of the hard-to-get-into club which has hosted everyone from Frank Sinatra to Leonardo DiCaprio, here’s some of the Annabel’s cocktails and the ingredients so you can have a whirl at making your own…
P.S. The Golden Allure was one of our favourite with a warming mix of cognac, rye whiskey and cacao extract, served with a side of coconut popcorn. Yum!
ANNABEL’S COCKTAIL FAVOURITES
Devil In Her heart: Tanqueray 10 Gin, Atago Matsu Sake, Green Tea & Pear Cactus, Citrus Juice, Lime oil
Devils Bite: Don Julio Reposado Tequila, Tokaji Sweet Wine, Rambutan, Kafir & Caramel, Amarillo Chili
Hanging Gardens of Babylon: Leblon Cachaca, Montelobos Mezcal, Araza & Bacuri Falermum, Lime oil and Creole bitters
Golden Allure: Hennessy Fine Cognac, Annabel’s WhistlePig Rey, Roasted Coconut & Popcorn, Orange infused and Cacao tincture
Love Seeds: Tanqueray Gin, Kiwana & Chia, Lillet infused with Cherry Flower, Top up with Champagne Citrus
On My Garden: Ketel One Vodka, Burlesque, Madeira with Lemon & Anise, Top up with Champagne
Fresh From The Tree: Ketel One Vodka, Borage & Plum, Annabel’s Dry Vermouth Blend, Clove, Top up with Champagne
WHO IS FRANKIE SANTOS?
Francisco Santos, known as Frankie, joined The Birley Clubs in May 2017 as general manager, and is heading up the new bars opening at Annabel’s 46 Berkeley Square .
Frankie joins the group working under Luis Simoes, bar director for The Birley Clubs, and this dynamic pair have worked together in the London restaurant and hotel scene for more than ten years.
Award-winning cocktail aficionado, Frankie joins the group from The Chiltern Firehouse hotel where he worked for over three years since the hotel’s opening.
Starting as bar manager and concluding his tenure as beverage director, he was responsible for all beverage details at the hotel.
Frankie, of Portuguese and Spanish origins, has been in London since 2007 arriving from Portugal aged 19.
Frankie started his career as a bartender at Skylon, South Bank before joining Mayfair’s The Mandeville Hotel as bar manager.
Frankie’s most notable post in his formative London years includes his role of bar manager at the Rivoli Bar at The Ritz, aged 25 and to this date he is the youngest bar manager the Ritz had employed in the role since its opening in 1906.