Design maven Rosanna Bossom, the creative mind behind 5 Hertford Street, provides the interiors, while Dom Jacobs, former bar director at Sketch, curates the wine list
While other bookmakers are closing their doors or migrating online, bespoke betting company Fitzdares believes the future of gambling lies not in algorithms and smart screens but in the old-school connection between bookmaker and sports fan. To help foster the return of that critically-endangered relationship, the company is about to open a Mayfair-based members’ club inspired by sport.
The brainchild of the eccentrically-named Balthazar Fabricius (after the protagonist in J.P. Donleavy’s novel The Beastly Beatitudes Of Balthazar B), Fitzdares (which takes its own name from Elizabeth Fitzdare, Balthazar B’s love interest in same novel), was founded in 2006 with backing from of Zac and Ben Goldsmith.
Following a number of successful pop-up events, including an amateur boxing night at The Ned, the bookmaker has decided to open its own venue on Mayfair’s Davies Street – the street in which Fitzdares was founded. Spread over two floors, Fitzdares Club will boast a restaurant, bar, two private dining rooms and a dedicated Racing Room when doors open 1 September 2020.
Interiors have been designed by Rosanna Bossom, the creative mind behind 5 Hertford Street, while the wine list has been curated by Dom Jacobs, former bar director at Sketch. Food-wise, expect twists on traditional bar classics, such as bresse chicken and truffle dippers, burgers made from rump and bone marrow, and lobster croissants.
Membership costs £500 per annum until 1 September 2020 and £600 per annum thereafter. For that, members can expect weekly talks by sports stars and television pundits, including new Fitzdares ambassadors John Moston OBE and Sir Geoffrey Boycott.
Fitzdares Club will be open seven days a week, from noon until midnight – and much later if there’s a big-ticket boxing match taking place the other side of the pond.
Ahead of the club's September launch, Luxury London asked Fitzdares CEO William Woodhams what members can expect from the bookmaker's new venture.
In which ways will Fitzdares be different from other Mayfair-based members’ clubs?
David Hockney said there was only two real things in the world – love and food. We argue that there’s another – sport. No other club really deliver the joys of great food and wine accompanied by the wonders of sport. There is genuinely nothing like it anywhere else.
What can members expect once they’re inside Fitzdares?
Over 2,500 metres of cable has been hidden in the walls, so you are really experiencing the finest audio visual technology in what is fundamentally a luxurious Mayfair townhouse. Having the chance to eat home-made Beef Wellington with a vintage claret while watching England play must be one of the most luxurious experiences ever.
How can members place bets within the club?
People can place any bets of any size on an app or by calling or texting our private office in London but no money will change hands in the club. Brokers are on hand to advise but not take bets.
Which sporting events are you most looking forward to screening?
In the coming months there’s the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in Paris, which clashes beautifully with the first weekend of Roland Garros, so it will be a feast of French food and world-class sport, with hopefully an English winner in the big race. Another I’m really looking forward to is Wimbledon next year – people will be chomping at the bit to see the return of the greatest Grand Slam. We really will be the best place to watch it and will have four matches running simultaneously across the club – plus a giant bowl of strawberries and cream on the bar. Finally, I secretly cannot wait for Fury vs. Joshua – Fitzdares will be the second best place to watch the bout, after the seats at ringside.