Indulge in Arboretum, a newcomer on the private members' club scene in London's West End. It may well be the 'greenest club in London', inviting luxury and sustainability to one beautiful plush bed together. Yes, there are sartorially slouching large velvet pillows around. But before the the space was completed and open for business, we at Bee got a behind the scenes tour. It was green and it was great.
Arboretum is the sister club of the late great Library which sadly closed its doors early this year after seven years of service, due to a harsh rent spike. The spirit of Library lives on in Arboretum, a contemporary haven for conscious Londoners, a different strain of unique than it's Soho-centric counterparts. It's a place to work, drink, play, socialise, exercise, hang out and just be, all surrounded by quirky interiors and with like-minded people. We heard the stories behind design choices, and exchanged a quick hello with the mysterious and charming owner (of Arboretum and Library) Ronald Ndoro Mind, who seems like a really cool boss and has a background in children's charities. This is the kind of man who should be very important. Arboretum is conscious of both style and environmental implications - it's a job well done. See for yourself 👇
Welcome to Arboretum
If you were previously a member of Library, your membership will be switched over to Arboretum, whose foliage covered navy blue exterior doesn't boast but merely hints at what awaits once inside. It's rather like the private members' club equivalent to Mary Poppins' bag - a small and unassuming exterior concealing a maze-like structure with winding corners and trick doors within. The building hosts a quirky and cosy atmosphere thanks to the interior design which includes exposed timber frames and a small bar and stage in the front room after entry. Live music takes place here.
A comforting yet eccentric place to meet a friend for a drink after work, this first room is a testament to Library and Arboretum's respective charms, which can be traced back to just how much thought has gone into each clubs' creation. Nothing at these clubs was simply placed there, everything has a story, from the bar tops made of recycled glass from from their very first launch parties, to the stained glass windows sourced from an ancient English church. As it turns out, founder Ronald Ndoro Mind is behind the interior design. Who knew private members' clubs could be a socially, environmentally conscious business? He did. Arboretum is a club for people who care, by people that care.
One floor up on the mezzanine level, overlooking the entrance bar below, is where members can get pizza and focaccia handmade on-site from the pizza hatch (which begun its life as a hair salon then onto an office - talk about upcycling a space). There's an honesty library for book reading, adding and swapping, and a bar specialising in artisan cocktails and whisky. This level has a vibe of its own, furnished with thick armchairs to recline in during a leisurely lunch or as you get lost in a novel under the skylight.
One building can't have enough bars and this last one, the real heart of the Library, gets an honorable mention. On entry to the club members and non-members are given a clue to find a secret door, which opens to reveal a (spoiler alert) tiny 1920s-themed speakeasy bar, big enough for a handful of guests at a time. It is a truly intimate and alluring space, with its own cocktail menu and music of the time dreamily setting the mood. Non-members are welcome inside with the £20 day ticket.
The restaurant at Library, Saint Luke's Table, is again intimate and snug, an artistic vision of blue velvet seats and crisp white tablecloths with a book placed on each table, inviting solo diners to feel like they're in an old French movie. Managed by John Batista (or JB as he introduces himself), Saint Luke's Table offers fine dining in a warm setting. The menu speaks of the clubs' inclusive values with a list of dishes to suit all diets, each dish presented with an artistic flair. Pair a three-course meal with cocktails named after famous authors. The Dino Buzzati (with rum, lemon, cinnamon, honey and grapefruit juice) and Joseph Conrad (with banana brown syrup and vodka) are both divine.
Through to Arboretum
From a meditation room to two alternative treatment rooms, self-care pods to a quaint gym, Arboretum's themes are wellness, design, and sustainability. It's a contemporary place for work and play, with podcast-recording rooms treadmills with tables attached, a meeting room and, for luxury and for fun, a football table and a champagne bar. Don't miss The Treehouse, a private room with vibrant furniture for a late-night champagne toast and a tête-à-tête.
The main lounge is the activity and sustainability hub of the club, complete with living walls, the recycled floor of an old school gym, an art curation that changes every three months, and huge velvet sofas. So well curated and designed, you'd never believe it was once a dull corporate lounge. Arboretum's lounge is where you'll do yoga, gong baths, meditation sessions - all event suggestions by members are considered.
Whether you're a freelancer who's looking for a unique private members' club to spend your days working in, a new parent searching for a sliver of tranquility in bustling Leicester Square, a wellness lover wanting to meet like-minded people at events, a businessperson searching for a stylish and individual place to meet colleagues, or simply someone looking for a club with a conscience, Arboretum is the private members' club for you. Register to join the community at arbor-etum.com.
112 St Martin's Lane, Charing Cross, London WC2N 4BD.