London Nightlife: It’s Industry Night at Vendome, an elite Mayfair nightspot alive with the glory of glamour, and above all, the fever of an approaching weekend. My own night is strictly the latter, as I am late, lost, and fresh from the grunge of the tube. Upon approaching the minimally chic entry I expect a Kate Moss look-alike to sneer at me from teetering Louboutins, teeth barred against entry to the famed underground nightspot. Instead of the infamous exclusion famed at other popular Mayfair clubs, the bouncer genuinely seems to welcome me into the dark double doors, catching me a bit off guard. Inside, palatial decor fuses perfectly with a modern spin on the 70s.
Just having moved here, the London scene has yet to be what I envisioned. Far less Amy Winehouse-esque, much more Black Eyed Peas. I was particularly taken with the British tradition of birthday cakes at midnight...a surprisingly good pairing with Patron.
Five minutes and two flights of stairs later, the wonderland of Vendôme sub-reality sets in. While the bouncer may be warm and inviting above ground, down the rabbit hole, cool rules. The club is designed in a perfect circle, a raised and revolving DJ booth floats above the dance floor. The space is a tribute to both the minimalist interiors that have populated London’s hottest West End for the last decade, as well as the revitalization of the dance floor.
“Vendôme is out of space, in outer space. The specifics are irrelevant - view it as a whole, but most of all have fun on the dance floor...it is cool again to be the idiot,” said Paul Daly, the interior design guru responsible for the décor. Along with legendary UK nightlife visionary Freddie Frampton, the pair created a space that is an oasis for the expensively inclined, but worth every penny.
Vendôme is ruled by abandon, an infinite sphere of soft lights, slim alcoves, and plush velour booths. An exotic arena for agendas of all kinds, complete with Robin Thicke look-alikes beating congo drums in time to both popular UK and American favorites, from Chromeo to Ke$ha, and everything in between.
At 2:30 a.m., when some venues might see the night wearing thin, Vendôme gets a second wind, the doors unleashing yet another pack of partygoer’s. As the mid-mark of the night heads toward morning (most venues in the UK officially call it a night at 4 a.m.) reality creeps back and we traipse out of the underworld into the well-lit night.
Feeling emboldened by three hours of beats and bottles, the bodyguard and I meet again, ”Why are you so nice?” I question, aimed at a man whose job it is to be selective, the very opposition of ‘nice’.
“Look”, he says, as if a guarded secret of nocturnal London, “There are clubs for people who think they are V.I.P’s and expect the world to treat them thus and then there are clubs for everyone who actually is a VIP, and if you are neither...well why the hell not see that side for the night?”
Well then, why not?
Vendôme is located at 85 Piccadilly, Mayfair, London, open Mon-Sat 10 p.m. - 4 a.m.