London's newest members-only lounge, Clubino Piano Bar, is proving to be an exciting option for discerning locals and guests at the Baglioni Hotel London. On a recent trip, club founder Luca Del Bono invited me to preview the intimate space, tucked beneath the hotel’s park-view bar.
“I’m trying to bring back a setting where people [can] drift away,” said Clubino’s founder, Luca Del Bono, “[like] we used to enjoy back in Italy a few decades ago.”
True to theme, the menu is classic Italian. Order a glass of prosecco with the whole branzino, baked in a salt-crust and filleted tableside—an impressive act in the club’s dim, subterranean dining room. If you have room for dessert (which I always do) the cloud-like tiramisu is a refreshing update to the traditional cake.
While we ate, a local pianist and singer performed jazz versions of modern hits. After dinner, a live DJ transformed the space into a posh nightclub.
Clubino’s eclectic design takes equal inspiration from Capri’s infamous cabaret bars and the music halls of mid-century Manhattan. I loved the contrast of Murano chandeliers and antique mirrored columns with zebra-print horsehair doors and a hand-painted Chinoiserie mural.
Look closely at the scene of cheeky Londoners at play in Kensington Palace gardens, and you might just spot Clubino’s mascot, Monsieur George, the top-hatted little bird named for Prince George of Cambridge.
After only a month of business, Del Bono is already at work on his next project, the South Kensington Club. The latest edition to his exclusive members-only portfolio will feature everything from a dedicated concierge to a salt water watsu pool when it debuts in September.
Melanie Lieberman is the Editorial Projects Assistant and a member of the Trip Doctor News Team. You can follow her on twitter at @LittleWordBites.