Many of the city' s coolest bars and clubs are members-only. Where there' s a will, however, there' s a way to get in.
Pretend You' re Going for the Food Soho' s louche new below-ground K Bar (84-86 Wardour St.; 44-171/439-4393) is nominally the province of the "K500," but when you eat at the street-level restaurant, Spiga (44-171/734-3444), you gain entry to the K Bar downstairs.
Choose an Off Day Essentially, K Bar is members-only Thursday-Saturday, and open to the public the rest of the week (though it might cost you 10 quid). The same is true for the bar below the restaurant Circus (1 Upper James St.; 44-171/534-4000). Bonus: Weekends are often overrun anyway.
Time Yourself The celeb-packed Met Bar in the Metropolitan Hotel (19 Old Park Lane; 44-171/447-1000) is open to the public before 6 p.m.— but that could make for a long night (consider the next option first).
Become a Temporary Member Stay at the Metropolitan and you win access to the bar. (One desperate exec booked the last available room— the penthouse suite— even though he already had one at the Hilton next door.)
Dress the Part L' Équipe Anglaise (21-23 Duke St.; 44-171/486-8281), a favorite club with the Euro crowd, isn' t private, but it does have the dreaded velvet rope. To catch the doorman' s eye, dress in what might be called "tasteful tramp" style: high heels and knee-length slinky slip dresses for women; suits without ties for men. At all costs, avoid arriving in a pack.
— VANESSA FRIEDMAN