As gentlemen's clubs in London become more and more irrelevant, a new elite club is getting ready to open its doors next month … to women only.
Grace Belgravia, located in the posh area of the same name, bills itself as "inclusive and exclusive." Membership will cost £5,500 (approximately $8,785) annually.
Incidentally, two of the club's three founders are men, including Dr. Tim Evans, doctor to the Queen, who will serve as the club's MD.
"Women are becoming more confident, more powerful and taking control, but there is not a single venue where they can all come together without the disruption of men," founder Chris O'Donaghue tells The Telegraph.
Following the announcement, another Telegraph writer voiced her opinion about the benefits of women's clubs. "Men (sorry, chaps) are exhausting," she writes.
But is a women-only club even necessary? Moreover, the concept of a testosterone-free zone for schmoozing is not exactly new. In Toronto, Verity operates under a similar premise, providing a social sanctuary for businesswomen.
Grace Belgravia is positioning its offerings as distinctly female-friendly. Within the 11,500-square-foot space, there will be a beauty salon and a gym conducive to yoga and Pilates. Custom programs that address fertility, pregnancy, empty-nesting and aging will also be available. All members will have a personal "Angel" to help with time management.
According to the website, the club's restaurant will specialize in raw foods and feature "bespoke teas" and a "broth bar."
All of this sounds wonderfully ascetic. But what about potential members who want to catch up with a gal pal over a hamburger?
There have always been varying opinions about the culture of men's clubs in London – specifically, whether denying access to women is anachronistic. Boodle's, which has been around since 1762, allows women to enter through a separate entrance and only on specific days. In 2008, the Conservative-leaning Carlton Club opened membership to women. White's, another gentleman's club that welcomes women as guests, has not eased its policy against full membership status.
Meanwhile, at Grace Belgravia, men are invited to attend for dinner – on Thursday nights. There is no separate entrance for them but only, apparently, because the venue wouldn't accommodate one.
Do you think women-only clubs are a good idea, or as out-of-date as men-only clubs?