Bookmaker Fitzdares has placed its bets on a private members’ club in Mayfair where fans can watch live sports in sumptuous surroundings. Olivia Palamountain reports
This is the age of personalisation, so whatever your interests, there’s a club for you. Following the vast popularity of creatives-only members’ club Soho House, there’s been a proliferation of private venues offering space for professionals to meet and connect, including women-only members’ club AllBright, vegan-only co-working space Bright and Birch, an estate retreat and co-working space with workshops and maker masterclasses.
And there’s more. Love wine? Sink the premium stuff at 97 Pall Mall. Eco-warrior? London’s plant-themed members-only club, Arboretum is the one for you. Rave while you work? Try The Ministry, a “sound-scaped” shared workspace from the Ministry of Sound that serves tequila in the toilets.
With so many interests catered for, you might wonder why it’s taken so long for sports lovers to find a spiritual home, but the wait is over with the launch of The Fitzdares Club, a sports-focused members’ club from the bookies of the same name.Fusing big screen sports with the luxuries of refined club service, fine dining, private rooms and a dedicated racing space, the Fitzdares Club is located on Davies Streets in Mayfair, where the original bookies was founded. Membership costs £600 per year and wannabe members “need only demonstrate a love of sport”.
Spread over two floors of a cronky Mayfair townhouse above the Running Horse pub (established in 1738, it’s the oldest public house and kitchen in the area), the club has history and charm in spades.
Interiors come care of Rosanna Bossom (designer of 5 Hertford Street), who has repurposed and updated many of the original fixtures and fittings with leather and Ikat fabrics in autumnal tones to create a warm, stylish blend between a Mayfair home and a club.
There’s a cosy fireplace flanked by armchairs and a petite bar, plus a jolly dining area – all of which have great access to multiple screens streaming non-stop sport. This is convivial luxury at its finest – forget sports lovers, anyone would happily while away the hours here.Fitzdares covers all the biggest events, from Royal Ascot to the Champions League and late night boxing fights. Fans of lesser-known or niche teams can request their preferred matches to be screened on arrival or book one of the private rooms upstairs, home to custom-made chess and backgammon boards.
Members will also be entertained by a weekly schedule of previews and talks by world-famous sports stars and pundits. This will include their new ambassadors, the legendary football commentator, John Motson OBE, and the iconic England cricketer, Sir Geoffrey Boycott.
William Woodhams, CEO of Fitzdares, says: “We are thrilled to introduce one of the most luxurious sports clubs in the country. While most bookies are closing their doors or just going online, we believe that the future of bookmaking is not algorithms or bombarding customers with mass advertising. It is the connection between the bookmaker and the sports fan that really counts.”
The Fitzdares Club food menu is available all day and features twists on traditional bar classics such as chicken and truffle dippers, burgers made from rump and bone marrow and lobster croissants, all served in suitably sporting portions. The quality of the food reflects the all-French team working in the kitchen, with feather-light pastry work, exquisite sauces and bags of je ne sais quoi.Bespoke cocktails such as the house favourite Horse’s Neck Martini, a blend of VSOP cognac, pressed ginger, ginger wine, lemon and bitters complement the extensive wine cellar, selected by former Bar Director at Sketch, Dom Jacobs. Beers include locally brewed Fitzdares Ale.
Discreet headphones are available on request so you can zone out to a game and enjoy the commentary, plus members receive a personal hotline to place their bets and one invitation per year to Fitzdares Club hospitality at a major sporting event.
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