Will a private members’ club work in Camden Town?


Record Club has opened on Kentish Town Road in the former Camden Rock. But will this self-styled haven for the area’s creative community win over locals?



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A Camden first? The new members’ bar Record Club

Many of you will have heard by now about Record Club, which opened its doors on Kentish Town Road late last week. The owners claim their new members’ club is a “Camden first”, with a “rock ‘n roll royalty committee” that includes Roger Taylor (Queen), Chas Smash (Madness), movie star Sean Bean and comedian Rob Brydon.

The smoking/ outside room
The smoking/ outside room

The brainchild of owner and Music Walk of Fame guru, Lee Bennett, Record Club has taken over the space near Sainsbury’s that was previously Camden Rock (and prior to that, WKD). Following an extensive refurbishment, the USP is that it’s now a “haven” for the area’s “thriving creative community”.

“Record Club will give their members the options to meet a client over afternoon tea, a cocktail with friends, live music, or a big night out dancing to private sets from the world’s biggest DJs and musicians,” says Bennett. “Members will also be invited to attend guest talks, private screenings and our desert island disc style DJ sets.” The cost of all this? £200 a year.

Upstairs mezzanine
Upstairs mezzanine

We popped down to have a snoop. It’s a bigger space than you might expect, with three distinct, quite industrial areas: the main bar, with its chrome stools, grand piano and Chesterfield sofas; an outside space with tent-like covered area and picnic tables; and upstairs mezzanine lounge, the interior an eclectic mish-mash of styles.

But alas, on a Thursday night at 9pm we were the only customers, so slinging back a quick cocktail (a Hemingway Daiquiri, quite zingy, a “special offer” at a fiver) we decided to jump ship for the more homely pleasures of Tapping The Admiral.

So, will you be signing up? And is this the right concept for Camden Town?

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For more info on how to go about joining Record Club head here.

  • Show Comments

  • Tim

    The Camden Record Club promises our “areas thriving creative community a haven away from the usual hustle and bustle of Camden Town where likeminded people can meet and relax, be it for business or pleasure.” Sounds alright. But is a private member’s club the best way to cultivate a haven for our creative community – or is it an entrepreneurial wheeze to try and tempt some musical grandees and wannabe slebs to stay in Camden for an evening, away from the bright lights and bountiful fruit and flowers offered by Shoreditch, Soho, Chelsea and wherever else their PR company tells them is hot right now?

    There’s nothing wrong with entrepreneurial wheezes. Yet it strikes me that the ‘vibrant music scene’ that Camden is world renowned for, has sadly moved on to new pastures. Camden still boasts great venues that have launched more legends than anywhere else in the UK. But for promising new bands now, is Camden still the place to play? Ambitious musicians are far outnumbered by ambitious tourists hoping to cane it up – the NW1 postcode seems to inspire people to let loose in more ways than just spending money – anyone unfortunate enough to go past the tube station early on a Saturday or Sunday morning could be forgiven for thinking a small war had broken out, with the weapons of choice being kebabs, piss and vomit.

    One of the things that did make Camden a special place to go out was that when it still was popular amongst great musicians, such as Amy Winehouse, and even celebrity rag icons or the children of great musicians, you could easily find yourself sharing a drink or more with the illustrious members of Camden’s ‘Creative Community’. To offer them a place where they can now be safely shut away from the ‘usual hustle and bustle’ i.e. you and me, could in fact be the nail in the coffin of what made Camden fun in the first place. If Camden is no longer good enough for ‘them’, then why not just leave us alone all together?

    Maybe more effort should be invested in actually saving Camden’s real heritage, such as the Golden Lion on Royal College Street, subject to a planning appeal by Developers on 12 November, rather than trying to just make money off it?

    • Gilo

      great post – I couldn’t agree more

  • Matt

    So how restrictive will it be? Can anyone sign up? Also, this spot has been through at least 3, if not more, incarnations in my 10+ years in the neighborhood. I’d love to join up.

  • Ian

    I’m not sure the Golden Lion’s really worth saving. Is it really worth £200 a year to go to a redecorated WKD, too? We’re not exactly short of options.

  • marky c

    Can’t see it working, location isn’t great…

  • Baz tavener

    It has Sean Bean on the commitee so for that reason I couldn’t care less. (Irate west ham fan)

  • Ray V

    I think Camden has been crying out for something like this for a long time…

    Is Camden the same place it was 10-15 years ago?! I’m not so sure. I lived in Camden between 2007-2010. I was out there not long ago, having moved to Holloway, and it looked like a background set from TOWIE. High heels, fake lashes and metro guys in way too skinny jeans. Bon Scott and Amy would be turning in their graves.

    yeah, the hardcore cool Camden kids are still around, but i think a lot of them have grown up and moved on, Tattoo’s and all.

    Still, it’s worth diving into the Good Mixer or the Dublin Castle just to say you have. Sorry, but I think the Hawley Arms has fallen into the TOWIE syndrome. I still enjoy walking along Inverness st and making my way up Kentish Town rd and around the Lock for a look.

    Sorry to see the Crown & Goose go but i think Koko has sold its soul.

    Just my 2 cents….

  • Polite Person

    In the last 10 years: WKD – The G-Lounge – Bar Monsta – Camden Rock – The Record Club – ???

  • Macky Drese

    Surely the whole point is about creating diversity. As an MTV employee who used to be based in Soho and now here in Hawley Crescent, I’ve noticed a lack of places in the area to have an informal afternoon meeting with a colleague or business partner outside the office. Or somewhere to drink in the evening that doesn’t involve jostling at the bar with tourists or pre-concert goers. There are plenty of venues for those crowds so why not add something else to the mix?
    And that doesnt mean we won’t still be going to the Colonel Fawcett, The Lock Tavern, The Hawley etc.

  • Floralyd

    As a local, it would be nice to have somewhere in the area that TOWIEs (as Ray V puts it) won’t come and infiltrate, a la Hawley Arms but then again that’s what Kentish Town is right? Haven away from tourists? Nice idea, but not sure the £200 a year membership is worth it!

  • Agzilla

    Very nice place, good crowd, friendly party atmosphere on a Saturday night and it’s not WKD or whatever anymore.. It’s a cool place to hang and just what is needed… I’m looking forward to spinning there.. Big Up Lee Bennett and the crew for putting it together.. Zz.

  • Katie

    I like the idea, but they’ll struggle for members if they don’t bother replying to membership enquiries…

  • Nick

    It makes me laugh when people go on about places like the Hawley Arms having lost the way, it was places like that that killed Camden. I liked Camden when it used to be an alternative and edgy place, not when the likes of Amy Winehouse decided it was cool and trendy to hang out there. The Hawley, Mixer and their like were the beginning of the end with hordes of people coming just to see if they could see their fave sleb being drunk or shooting up. There are still some good pubs in Camden that are packed with creative and normal Camden types, I just hope that someone like Rita Ora doesn’t stumble upon them.