Wow. The Rushmore Group has proved me wrong. I was beginning to think that the team that brought us Milk and Honey (still going strong after ten years) followed by the influential mid-century modern bar The East Rooms (tragically lost in a fire) seemed to be stuttering.
They had over-stretched their bar portfolio and were in danger of losing their sense of exclusivity (the death knell for any private members club). Even worse, for their diehard fans, they were struggling to fill the gap left behind by the East Rooms.
However, taking over the Century Club has proven to be a stroke of genius. Originally set up in 2001 as a rival to Soho House and the Groucho Club, Century has never really enjoyed the same cache as those two giants of the members’ club world. And in recent years, Century has been overtaken in the pecking order by newcomers such as the Hospital Club, and the aforementioned Milk and Honey. But the Rushmore gang have worked their mid-century modern magic on Century, and given it a makeover that should see it hurtling back to the top of the cool club gang.
Century is buried on Shaftesbury Avenue between dodgy food outlets and dodgier bars. However, once you enter the discreet black door and climb the hundred-step stairway (hence the name), you enter the Soho that is normally the preserve of the movies. Century overlooks St Anne’s Church, and is presented over four floors. It boasts two permanent bars, a multimedia events room available for private hire and a relaxed restaurant. We were there to check out the Green Room, which is available for hire to members and non-members. The room, which has space for up to 200 people, is both stylish and very comfortable. Fans of Mad Men will be in mid-century modern heaven in this place, which as the Northerner so succinctly put, “is like stepping into Don Draper’s apartment”. Dark and light shades of brown leather and wood, exposed brickwork, white, high-framed windows, and gorgeous glass bulb light shades gives the Century is hip-factor. With Champagne and New World wines flowing and Asian and traditional British canapés, all served by gorgeous Australian men, the Green Room is great for a special private bash, or more likely as a launch party venue. In the rest of the club you can find a cocktail bar, members restaurant, and at the very top, a roof terrace, which I believe is a treat in the warmer weather.
So what’s not to like? Well, it is a private club, which means that you have to either join, or know someone who is a member to experience Century. But, as someone who fortuitously is a member, I see this as a welcome return to form for the Rushmore Group (and a stroke of good fortune for Century). RIP The East Rooms. Your successor has been anointed.