Holding Court: entrepreneur Harry Mead on the future of private members’ clubs

New London venue The Court promises to bring a ‘personal touch’ to the capital’s private club scene

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Private members’ clubs are a dime a dozen in the British capital, with new pretenders opening almost every other week.

The Court, the new club from entrepreneur Harry Mead, however, promises to be something different, not least of all because it will sit on the site of the legendary Bag O’Nails venue in Soho where Jimi Hendrix performed and where The Beatles used to socialise.

Ahead of its opening next year, The Week Portfolio caught up with Mead to find out more about the ambitious £2 million project.

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How will The Court be different from the capital’s other private members’ clubs?

It’s the personal touch – yes, there are other members’ clubs offering a great experience, but we have lost the personal touch of the great venues of the past. The charm of some of the world’s most esteemed venues was that the owner would be there to host – at The Court, I’ll be there as host every night.

Too many of London’s members’ clubs let poor behaviour slip because a group have spent a large amount on Champagne. With me there each night, I can make sure that never happens – I want people to feel comfortable that they’re in great company.

It’s also about the offer – while there are top music, art and food venues across London, few of these combine each element to create such a unique experience and that’s exactly what The Court will be offering.

What sort of person would be the ideal member for The Court, from your perspective?

Essentially, It’s the type of person that you’d enjoy being sat next to at a dinner party – the person with interesting stories to tell. I want The Court to be the place where, if you were out in Soho, had no phone and lost your friends, you know you could come and be in good company.

Groucho Marx had his famous quote on clubs... what sort of clubs would you not want to belong to?

I wouldn’t want to belong to a club that doesn’t value the individual. At The Court, I want to make sure that each person feels comfortable and knows that they’ll have a brilliant time. I live my life by the ethos “when in doubt, be nice” and at The Court, we’ll operate a simple “no idiots” policy. So, regardless of how often you come or how much you’re spending, we’ll always expect our members to behave with class.

The Court founder Harry Mead

In Bradley Theodore, Nikki Tibbles, Ryan Chetiyawardana and Tom Sellers you have some great talent on board. What skills is each bringing to The Court?

I’m blessed to have such a credible team surrounding me. Ryan, who I’ve worked with before, has created a diverse drinks menu with his award-winning team at Mr Lyan Studio. Tom has developed a food menu that recreates some of the most classic yet enticing dishes – for example the fruits de mer. Nikki, aside from being recognised as one of London’s best florists, has an inspiring charity and will be working with us on a number of fundraisers. Bradley is putting his quintessential twist on the design in his unique style – the focal piano will be a bespoke sculpture by Theodore.

Simply put, The Court will be greater than the sum of its parts – it’s lots of little things that come together to give members a unique experience.

Most private members clubs I speak to have more trouble attracting female members than male. Do you have any strategies for specifically attracting female members?

This is a vital part of the club’s ethos. Myself and the team have set out from the start to create a space where women feel comfortable – this isn’t a strategy, it’s a value.

I have heard many stories from female friends of mine about the troubles they’ve had on nights out across the city and I’m excited to be opening somewhere that they know will be comfortable and relax. From the members’ we recruit to the way we monitor the club, every element will be considered with the welfare of all of our members in mind.

Is your ambition only to be in London or like Soho House, Groucho, etc are you hoping to expand internationally?

This is definitely the start of something bigger – while I can’t say much yet there are talks about event pop-ups abroad for our members in 2019 and then beyond that, who knows?

For more information visit thecourt.co.uk/coming-soon

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