First Look: Members Club the Britely to Hit L.A.'s Sunset Strip
An upcoming spot housed in the Pendry West Hollywood hotel will strive for the requisite "urban alchemy" without the attitude or Hollywood credentialing: "You can be a doctor or a lawyer — just be a good person."
Next year, a one-mile stretch of the Sunset Strip will be home to three membership clubs. The newest entrant set to join Soho House and the previously announced Gwyneth Paltrow-backed Arts Club (not to mention more than a dozen others elsewhere across L.A.) is the Britely — currently under construction inside the Pendry West Hollywood hotel at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Olive Drive. Pendry's owner — real estate firm Combined Properties — is betting that the duo of chef Wolfgang Puck and interior designer Martin Brudnizki, who did the acclaimed 2018 revamp of posh London members' club Annabel's, can provide enough pop and panache to draw 1,600 members (at $2,800 a year, with a 30 percent discount for anyone under 30). But in an increasingly crowded field, can a corporately owned newcomer carve out its niche as Jeffrey Klein's San Vicente Bungalows quickly did?
With its grand opening scheduled for spring/summer 2020, the Britely has several factors in its favor. Brudnizki's designs for the downstairs (two bars, a restaurant and a bowling alley) and the rooftop bar, lounge and pool are stunning. "Each area is playful thanks to bright lacquered walls, animal-print upholstery and brass detailing," Brudnizki tells THR via email (he, like Puck, will provide his services to the entire hotel), adding that he wanted to create "a sense of escapism." And practically speaking, a private club embedded in a hotel makes sense, given shared amenities and staffing needs. But there's a certain urban alchemy — exclusivity without excessive attitude, a clear point of view and the elusive "it" factor — that a membership club demands.
To conjure that mix, the Britely has tapped hospitality veteran Estelle Lacroix, who most recently was general manager at NeueHouse. Lacroix is adamant that a strong club needs to pick a lane: Is it a social venue where members come to unwind or a co-working (and networking) space? She'll steer the Britely toward the former and tells THR that her membership committee is tapping social networks to put together a launch list. Will founding members be vetted to weed out anyone who is not part of L.A.'s creative class — à la the Soho House? "We want good people. I'm not going to create something very complicated here," says Lacroix. "So you can be a doctor or a lawyer — just be a good person. That's all we need."
This story first appeared in the June 12 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.