BlackBook Urbanologie: Four London Members Clubs Coming to NYC and LA

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The Groucho Club


It all started back in 1995 when Nick Jones’ Soho House opened on Dean Street in London. Since then, a new generation of members clubs has multiplied across the globe to the point of there now being virtually far too many to count.

Still, no one does them like the Brits – and four of their most high-profile clubs will be coming to New York and Los Angeles sooner than later. Our partners at Urbanologie have the lowdown.


The Groucho Club

New York

Soho’s best-known members-only establishment and watering hole famed for its celebrity hedonsim, is to open its second outpost in New York – in Lower Manhattan. The Groucho Club New York will have a similar offering to the London Club, with versatile event spaces, club bedrooms, bars and restaurants and a large outdoor terrace for dining and drinking and is expected to open in the second half of next year.  The renowend arts and media club was founded in 1985 on Dean Street – and is named after Groucho Marx, who famously said: “I don’t want to belong to any club that will accept me as a member.”


5 Hertford Street

New York

London’s most sought after private members’ club, a place to see and be seen – is expanding to New York and is to take over a space near Union Square in Manhattan. Apparently the club will be “along the lines of 5 Hertford Street” but with “some bedrooms for members”. Details are still sketchy so check back for additional information. Behind an unmarked maroon door of an 18th Century tonhouse, in the midst of London’s Shepherd’s Market (formerly nortorious brothel, Tiddy Dols), lies a haven of exclusivity. 5 Hertford Street boasts two beautiful restaurants, three great bars, a cinema room and the glamorous and notorious nightclub LouLou’s – (since it’s opening, the club has become a coveted nightspot and has been frequented by royals, business tycoons and A-list celebrities). The décor is the work of Eighties fashion designer Rifat Ozbek (think swirly black walls, shards of mirror glass, velvety fabrics).



The Arts Club

Los Angeles

The landmark Hustler Hollywood store on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles is to be bulldozed to make way for an upscale new nightclub and lounge backed by Hollywood actress and lifestyle guru Gwyneth Paltrow. Together, with London-based property developer, Gary Landesberg they are intending to build a West Coast outpost of Mayfair’s Arts Club. The 132,000-square-foot nine-storey building (designed by architectural firm Gensler) will host a creative office space and a gallery on its first four floors, with the remaining upper floors devoted to the club. The fifth floor will contain a dining terrace, screening room and a gym; the sixth floor would house 15 guest rooms for members; the seventh floor would host an eatery, another terrace, and a lounge for members. On the eighth floor, there will be a “Japanese/Latino” restaurant. The club will also feature a glamorous rooftop, with a pool and another terrace for events and even a private helipad. It will also offer an underground parking garage with room for 220 cars, which can be accessed from Hilldale Avenue.



The Hospital Club

Los Angeles

The Hospital Club is expanding overseas with the opening of a second site in Los Angeles in 2018. Located on the iconic corner of Hollywood and Vine, h.Club LA (taking over the Redbury hotel) encompasses five floors of spaces designed to host and showcase creativity – inspired by the Modern Grand Tour of Europe. Three different areas for dining feature sustainable and locally sourced ingredients. An elegant rooftop restaurant will have views across Hollywood and lead onto a desert garden inspired by the English gardens of the late film maker Derek Jarman. Additional amenities include an outdoor pool deck, relaxing tea room, stylish bars, gym and wellness facilities, creative co-working spaces, music studio, screening room and live performance spaces and 36 bedrooms.  Founded in 2004 by philanthropist and entrepreneur, Paul G. Allen in London, in what was once a derelict hospital and is popular hub for the creative industries.



Urbanologie has been described as “the must have VIP lifestyle app,” designed to keep members in the know with up-to-the-minute insider news and exclusive content on the most anticipated restaurant, bar, club and hotel openings.


BlackBook Urbanologie: London’s New Vegan Hotspots

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There was a time when it would have been unthinkable; but yes, even the Brits are getting their veg on these days. And some of London’s hottest tables for 2018 are total meat-free zones.

Here are some of best – as chosen by our partners at Urbanologie – including a Covent Garden outpost of NYC’s by CHLOE.


The Vurger Co.

Popular plant-based burger company, The Vurger Co, opens its first permanent site in Shoreditch – this March – following a number of well-received pop-up sand along with a successful crowdfunding campaign. The site features The Vurger Co’s full menu including their best-selling Tabasco Auburger, made from aubergines, chickpeas, red onion and vegan cheese, as well as the company’s infamous mac’n’cheese and shakes. Other soul satisfying highlights from the menu include the mouth-watering Classic, the Mexican and the MLT, packed full of baked mushrooms and rocket and topped with walnut and sundried tomato paste.




New York City’s acclaimed vegan (quick-serve) restaurant group has taken the city by storm, and has expanded with locations across the capital and nationwide. This fast-casual operation is vegan chef Chloe Coscarelli’s first foray into the restaurant business and the Covent Garden outpost (opening January, 2018) is their first outside of the States. by CHLOE. aims to share delicious, wholesome, plant-based food “that fuels and energizes without compromising flavor, taste or satisfaction”. Their chef-driven vegan menu always feature locally-sourced ingredients in their most natural form to create “innovative” dishes made in-house – with a mindset of mindful, sustainable ingredient sourcing, eco-friendly packaging and lowering their carbon footprint. The restaurants offer plant-based salads, burgers, sandwiches, cold-pressed juices, ice cream, freshly-baked sweets, and a variety of grab-and-go options.


Wildflower (part of the Peckham Levels project) is a vegetarian and vegan canteen serving breakfast, brunch and lunch throughout the week. Head Chef Joseph Ryan (Frank’s Cafe, Salon) draws inspiration from Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and Asian cuisine for the ingredient-led daily menu. The “relaxed, communal atmosphere” offers a laid back ‘greenteen’ setting to dine on dishes such as: roasted cauliflower, bramley apple, walnuts, Cotherstone & pickled onions and sweet potato & sage gratin, toasted oats, beetroot relish & watercress. Open 7 days a week.



The Spread Eagle

London’s first 100% vegan pub in Hackney. Purveyors of the city’s best vegan street food, Meriel Armitage (founder of Club Mexicana) brings her cult Mexican inspired dishes to The Spread Eagle, with an entirely vegan offering from bar to kitchen, fixtures and fittings, creating a modern take on a classic East End boozer. Dishes draw influence from the street food traders of Mexico and California with a concise and regularly rotating small plates and signature Tacos. The bar also has a 16 strong tap selection of vegan beers, and a specially created house ‘Spread Eagle Lager’, as well as a vegan wine list of small batch organic bottles and cocktails.



Purezza (purity) was founded in Brighton in 2015, becoming the first vegan pizzeria in the UK. The plant pioneers are revolutionising Italian food through cruelty free ingredients. In February they launch an outpost in Camden.  The plant-based eaterie offers three types of pizza base – including sourdough, hemp flour and gluten-free as well as using different types of cruelty-free cheese, including their house rice-blend mozzarella as well as coconut, almond, and cashew-based options on their four cheese pizza. They also offer “meats” such as pancetta, mince and burger patties, which have been engineered with plant proteins and a wide range of raw and gluten-free options.



Urbanologie has been described as “the must have VIP lifestyle app,” designed to keep members in the know with up-to-the-minute insider news and exclusive content on the most anticipated restaurant, bar, club and hotel openings.

BlackBook Urbanologie: London’s Best Russian Restaurants

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Mari Vanna


With the Mueller collusion investigation heating up, and Donald Trump antagonizing London mayor Sadiq Khan, we couldn’t think of a better plan than hopping a flight to Blighty’s capital to indulge in some of the city’s best Russian restaurants – which is definitely a thing, since a large expat population has some Londoners referring to Blighty’s capital as “Moscow on the Thames.”

We turned to our partners at Urbanologie for their expertise on the subject.


Mari Vanna

Laden with extraordinary attention to detail and elaborately decorated, this quaint (shabby chic) restaurant immediately transports you into an archetypal Russian home adorned with the iconic Russian Bear, stacking dolls and Cheburashka, bookshelves filled with Russian literature and elaborate chandeliers. Following the success of Mari Vanna in St Petersburg, Moscow and New York – the London outpost (opened in 2009) is well positioned in the heart of Knighsbridge and on the doorstep of Hyde Park. The restaurant offers “babushka cooking” – traditional homely fare – with influences from Armenia, Georgia and Uzbekistan and with a contemporary style. Mari Vanna really invokes the feel of an old Russian home and the theme continues through to the menu, which features classic such as borscht – beetroot soup with beef – and well as Olivier salad and beef stroganoff with buckwheat.


A venture from Russian chef Alexei Zimin that combines Russian street food and drink in a kitsch speakeasy-style atmosphere. Zima occupies the basement of a Grade-II listed townhouse on Frith Street in Soho, right next door to the legendary Ronnie Scott’s jazz club. For the interior ‘think Russian dacha and Soviet-era ryumochnaya (vodka bar)’ – adorned with slogan-and-symbol-embossed propaganda porcelain. The site is the first venture for Zimin outside Russia, and combines street and gourmet food in an array of tapas-style dishes featuring classic ingredients from all corners of Russia and the former Soviet Union. Dishes are prepared around ingredients such as sturgeon, herring, scallops, crab, venison and, of course, caviar. As well as food there are Russian beers like Siberian Crown, and cocktails using vodka infusions flavoured with fennel & tarragon; basil & strawberry and lingonberry & apple with curry leaves. Well-known in Russia, Zimin runs his own restaurant and cookery school, Ragout, in Moscow.



Bob Bob Ricard

This glamorous and very opulent Russian restaurant is perfect for a trip out of the ordinary. The menu is a mix of British and Russian dishes made with unrestrained creativity and a wide variety of luxury ingredients. Expect starters served with vodka shots (chilled to -18C), and every table is furnished with a ‘Press for Champagne’ button, enabling the restaurant to boast the widely coveted ‘most champagne poured at a restaurant in the UK’ title. The eclectic design of the interior is a stand out feature, distinguishing it with marble tabletops, colourful leather upholstery and gold accents. The dining area is separated between the Blue Dining Room (designed by David Collins and inspired by the Orient Express) and the Red Dining Room (with oriental patterns and backgammon motifs in the centre). There are no individual tables but booths, making the place almost reminiscent of an American-style diner. A new City outpost, Bob Bob Cite, is expected to open shortly – with the kitchen overseen by Eric Chavot, formerly of Brasserie Chavot, and the menu features signature Bob Bob dishes with added twists.



Urbanologie has been described as “the must have VIP lifestyle app,” designed to keep members in the know with up-to-the-minute insider news and exclusive content on the most anticipated restaurant, bar, club and hotel openings. 


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Marie Antoinette image courtesy of Columbia Pictures



The staff at BlackBook sincerely wishes you and yours all the best of the New Year!



Behind the Scenes with Edgar Ramirez at our alexa BlackBook Cover Shoot

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For the December issue of alexa BlackBook, Edgar Ramirez told us all about becoming Gianni Versace for the new American Crime Story. Naturally, we dressed him in some amazing looks by the iconic brand, and let him do the rest. Read the cover story, here.



Photography: Williams & Hirakawa, Fashion Editor: Serena French, Stylist: Anahita Moussavian, Grooming: Barbara Guillaume at Forward Artists using Oribe, Tailor: Erik Gavrilov for Sew Ponies

A Most Uncommon BlackBook Holiday Gift Guide

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We know how you, just like us, really wanted to have your holiday shopping all, um, wrapped up by November 30. But, as usual, our frantic lives get in the way – and here it is the middle of December, and, admit it, you haven’t even started.

Fear not! BlackBook has assembled a list of gifts that are as singular as they are universally appealing. After all, who doesn’t love Champagne and The Beatles?

Happy shopping!


Candle Subscription

There are subscription boxes for almost everything; but a candle subscription feels like something totally new – and special. Each month, Vellabox (pictured above) will deliver a surprise candle, custom made and hand-poured. There are three sizes, staring from the $10 monthly Lucerna Box, with a four-ounce candle and surprise gift, and graduating to the $30 Vivere Box, complete with an eight ounce and four ounce candle, plus surprise.

Personalized Stationery

Rock Scissor Paper (Oprah loves them) have been creating impossibly groovy, retro-modernist greeting cards in their LA design lab for some two decades now. But their stylish personalized stationery makes a particularly thoughtful gift – as it encourages creativity and, more importantly, gives that special someone a wonderful reason to disengage from the digital world…if only for long enough to write out a gracious handwritten note. And, of course, look good doing it.



Narco-Chic T’s

Between Netflix’ Narcos, Tom Cruise’s American Made and an upcoming HBO film now in production starring J. Lo as Griselda Blanco, “Narco Chic” is certainly all the rage. So get in step with LA’s Plata O Plomo, who do remarkably stylish t-shirts ($19.95) and hoodies ($49.95) – men’s and women’s – emblazoned with the cheeky, infamous Pablo Escobar expression.



Digital Art

Loupe is the game changing art app, offering streaming access to the works of some of world’s most notable contemporary artists. And their special holiday gifting program allows that you can purchase a beautiful/provocative art print (surely for that someone on your list who has everything – and now at 20% off) while also supporting two very worthy causes: Free Arts and Breast Treatment Task Force; the charity of your choice will receive a portion of the sale. And the recipient will have a gift that lasts a lifetime.



Vintage Champagne

You can never go wrong with putting a bit of the bubbly in a special someone’s stocking. But skip the quotidian Prosecco and the same old familiar champers labels for something a bit more exclusive and, frankly, exquisitely realized. To wit, Artéis & Co, who release only vintage “Wines of Champagne” – meant to be very much enjoyed with an excellent meal. Choose the Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs 2004 or the Brut Rosé 2007.



Restaurant Gift Certificates

Show your excellent taste by sending someone out for an excellent brunch or dinner. We vigorously recommend some of our fave new spots: Danny Meyer’s moved-around-the-corner edition of Union Square Cafe has proven as popular as the legendary original, serving up Berkshire pork chops, Chatham cod, decadent desserts and killer martinis in a soaring, two-story space; exalted Masa sushi chef Masa Takayama just opened the much more affordable, cooly minimalist Japanese grill Tetsu in Tribeca; in LA, Dominique Ansel Bakery / 189 Restaurant at The Grove is the Cronut chef’s first foray into real sit-down dining, with full bar; and in Chicago, remind your favorite hipster that you’re just as hip with a staycation gift certificate to the Robey Hotel (from Mexico’s Habita), with its cool Wicker Park location, buzzy Cafe Robey and rooftop bar. But should you be shopping for your favorite amateur chef, it’s all about Gourmet Garage, with six NYC locations offering the finest seafoods, produce, cheeses, even a top notch butcher shop. Yum.


Union Square Cafe


Beatles Christmas Records

LIMITED EDITION SEVEN-INCH VINYL BOX SET  Back in the 1960s fan clubs were a thing that bands cared about, and looked after – none more so than The Beatles, who created an annual holiday tradition of recording Christmas messages for the club’s members. Spanning 1963 to 1969, The Beatles’ holiday recordings were originally pressed on flexi discs and mailed out each December. Now you can hear them all thanks to this set of seven-inch colored vinyl singles (avail. from December 15), including a 16-page booklet with reproductions of the fan club’s newsletters.


Swim Shorts

The Nick Swim Short by Katama Camouflage feature mid-length trunks, with a square cut and double D-ring waist adjusters in place of an elasticated waistband. Two back pockets provide a place to keep your phone when striding athletically across the beach. A perfect gift for someone who’s already counting the days until summer.





alexa BlackBook: Alison Mosshart, Don Lemon, Matthew Modine, Nia Vardalos, Leslie Odom Jr. & More Tell Us Their Christmas Wish Lists

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The musician, artist and sometime-model serves as lead vocalist for indie-rock band the Kills, as well as for Jack White’s supergroup, the Dead Weather.


Maria Tash 18-k rose-gold diamond earring, $975 at


“Maria Tash earrings are 
all beautiful, tiny 
and shiny.”




New York-based journalist Lemon — who’s won both an Emmy and an Edward R. Murrow Award for his reporting — currently anchors the primetime cable news show CNN Tonight.


Ali: A Life by Jonathan Eig, $30 at


“As a kid, I saw Ali as this iconic figure — this black man who would have people hanging on his every word. 
But I didn’t get just how huge a figure he was until 
I was an adult. Everyone thinks taking a knee is a 
big deal, but think about being Muslim and saying 
you’re not going to fight in a war — jeopardizing 
your career. That took real courage.”




“Scientists estimate that by 2050 there will be more tons of plastic in the ocean than fish,” says Modine, who appears on Stranger Things, streaming now on Netflix. “We have to be responsible consumers. Gifts like this will make your friends eco-warriors and demonstrate how you are hip, cool and a part of the solution.”


Bee’s Wrap (three pack), $20 at


“These food wraps are the perfect solution for eliminating plastic wrap. The anti-bacterial properties of the beeswax and jojoba oil help to keep food fresh and allow you to use the wrap again and again.”




Vardalos is now working on a play called Tiny Beautiful Things in New York. “As holiday shopping season approaches, I’ve eyeballed many corneapopping tiny beautiful things,” she says. “While many of us can’t exactly splurge on fanciful items, we can always drop loud and obvious hints!”


“Royal Strass” Swarovski-crystal adorned pumps, $3,995 at


“If you’re like me and never want disco to die, then we can wear these redbottomed glittery shoes to every office meeting, to every rave and then to church the next day.”





Odom Jr., who won the Best Actor Tony for his scene-stealing performance as Aaron Burr in Broadway’s Hamilton, now appears on the big screen in Murder on the Orient Express.


Get Out movie poster, $20 at


“I want a limited-edition Get Out poster framed — and signed by Jordan Peele, please — for my office. I haven’t gone to the theater to see a movie three times in 
… ever. I was entertained and inspired more than I can say. “




Lauder is the image director for her family’s Estée Lauder brand, while also running her own popular beauty and home lifestyle company, AERIN.


Aspen Style, 
$85 at


“This book is high on my wish list. Not only because Aspen is such a special place to me, but also because the cover is so beautiful and will look amazing on any coffee table.”




Actress Eliza Coupe, best known for her roles on Happy Endings, Scrubs and The Mindy Project, just returned to screens on the new Hulu series Future Man, directed by Seth Rogen.


Luxe gym bag, 
$165 at


“I work out like a maniac and go through gym clothes and gym bags like crazy — Sweaty Betty makes the best workout gear!”


Illustrations by John Kenzie

How to Make Your Winter Style Iconic

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Winter footwear should be sturdy and functional, but it doesn’t need to be unsightly. Sergio Rossi has unveiled a lust-worthy line of classic silhouettes with edgy new features that allow wearers to achieve a high-fashion look without sacrificing comfort and elegance throughout the changing seasons.

For the Winter 2017-18 collection, Sergio Rossi writes the next chapter in its journey to rediscover the true essence of the brand, focusing on its DNA, expert craftsmanship and know-how. The inspirational starting point is interior design: Structured and hypnotic geometries evoke architectural patterns where polychrome resins and marbles turn into a multi-color inlay of leather and suede. The result is an “interior-walk,” a handmade couture merging interior décor with footwear.

sr1, the collection that marked a new beginning in the history of the brand, is once again center stage, with precise and clean lines for a seasonless collection. The emblematic leather tongue and its personalized silver plate (the distinctive decoration placed on each creation in the collection) are found not only on slippers and the sabot but also on booties, over-the-knee boots and ankle-strap moccasins.


  • The sr1 slipper, with its emblematic tongue and distinctive metallic plate, is the stand-out design this winter -- a new aesthetic of comfort and elegance.
  • The sr1 pump, the must-have shoe silhouette, debuts for the first time with a pointed toe, a tribute to a historic archive piece inspired by the boldness of ‘90s supermodels. The flawless, pointy pumps are a versatile and flattering choice for all femininity and effortless appeal. Available in both neutral and bright tones, they're a wardrobe staple.
  • Complete your look with ultra-modern, dynamic, chic footwear that bridges the gap between style and functionality. sr1 calfskin sneakers feature distinctive metal plates for a street-chic look, and a ladylike heel for an upscale feel.
  • Versatile and comfortable forms are the product of classical lines with character details and an ultra-feminine fit. With a variety of classic colors and sophisticated winter tones to choose from, you can choose the perfect pair for you this fall.
  • The multi-color inlay was entirely created by hand using a multitude of laser-cut leather tiles. The geometric pattern of the sr1 Inlay bootie is made of 150 unique hand-applied pieces, requiring more than 18 hours of work. A masterpiece.
  • These instantly crush-worthy studs put a twist on classic silhouettes to create a look with edgy detail. Add a sophisticated aspect to must-have styles, like ankle boots, slippers or pochettes, for a rocking appeal that amps up the glam of nearly any look.
  • Choose from a special selection of materials, colors and accessories to personalize your exclusive pair of sr1 slippers. The sophisticated daywear slipper is the signature model from the sr1 line, with a square toe and embellished tongue complete with the iconic Sergio Rossi plate for added elegance. Find the combination that perfectly conveys your style, and create a pair that will become the symbol of your unique taste.

Shop now!

Behind the Scenes with Norman Reedus at our alexa BlackBook Cover Shoot

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For our November issue of alexa BlackBook, ‘Walking Dead’ star Norman Reedus gave us his holiday wish list and talked with the “antichrist” himself, Marilyn Manson. Watch a behind-the-scenes video from our insane cover shoot and read the blasphemous duo’s naughty conversation, here.



Lead Photo: “O’Connor” suit, $5,440, and shirt, $560, both at; “Greggo Flat” Oxfords, $850 at Christian Louboutin, 967

Photography by: Chris Buck, Fashion Editor: Serena French, Styling: Cody Jones, Grooming: Kristan Serafino & Tracey Mattingly