Traditionally, the social season in Palm Beach could end next month, but a new private club is just getting started.
Kutschenhausopens the doors of its Grade II listed buildings by architects Addison Mizner and Maurice Fatio this month, bringing a new place to eat and socialize to the cityexperienced a resurgence during the pandemic, attracting countless young families.
The private club: the ultimate in oneNumber of recent openings– is the vision of founders Michael and Paula Bickford, who moved to Palm Beach from London eight years ago. The couple came across the Mizner-designed building at 264 South County Road while restoring their own 1930s home. The building once housed and was built for the world's first commercial floor.Message from Marjorie MerriweatherE.F.'s husband Hutton. More recently, it has housed 264 the Grill, whichclosed in 2015.
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Michael, a real estate mutual fund manager, developed the plan for the preservation and restoration of the Mizner Building and its neighboring Fatio-designed building at 270 South County Road. Michael R. McCarty, owner and operator of the beloved Michael R. McCarty's restaurant at Royal Poinciana Plaza for over a decade before it closed in 2016, helped the founders address concerns expressed by the community in the early stages of the requested project. City Council approval.
An illustration shows one of the Carriage House bars.
"The restoration of two of Palm Beach's most prominent buildings has been an incredible opportunity and responsibility," said Michael in the club's press materials. "Through our work, we intend to honor the great minds who created the foundation of Palm Beach as it is today. Our dream is for the club to have true longevity. To become a place where generations of friends and families can enjoy themselves. Together , we can celebrate the past and shape the future by honoring the spirit of the early 20th century."
Michael's wife Paula, who was born in Brazil and traded commodities there before studying fashion design at Central Saint Martins in London, oversaw the club's design. As creative director, she commissioned architect Keith Spina to restore the buildings and collaborated with Madrid-based designer Luis Bustamante on the interiors.
Design elements include an art collection featuring works by Robert Longo, Tracey Emin and Brice Guilbert, among other well-known artists, backgammon-inspired hardwood floors in the club's reading room, an emerald green bathroom with backlit green agate flooring, walls painted with Portuguese tiles, semiprecious stone tables in the dining room and a carefully restored fireplace in the Mizner Building. The patio sidewalk is built in the same style as Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, a tribute to Paula's Brazilian heritage.
Beyond the design, it was the opportunity for another place to eat and be entertained that led several Palm Beach residents to accept the club's invitation and pay a six-figure entry fee. Mediterranean and Japanese cuisine is served; Mediterranean offerings are overseen by head chef Mathias Gervais.—who has worked with chefs Daniel Boulud and Joël Robuchon, and Japanese cuisine is led by chef Shuji Hiyakawa, trained by Masaharu Morimoto.
Michael and Paula Bickford, founders of Carriage House
The Carriage House niche in a club-rich city
What will Carriage House add to a town of around 9,000 that already has its share of social clubs? "It provides the community with an exciting, delightful and beautiful place to gather generations to come, in a place that feels like a home away from home," said one member who grew up in Palm Beach and who requested anonymity.
The member said he hopes to have a new destination for the night. "A long time ago, there were places where people could go out for drinks after dinner, but Palm Beach doesn't have that anymore and people don't go home until after dinner," they said. "It's going to be fun to have this concept where you can go to a wonderful place and talk outside your house like it's your own house where you know everybody and every room has a homey, cozy vibe."
Some other attractive aspects of Carriage House for members are the wide range of ages they can join and the easy access to premium restaurant reservations, which have become a popular commodity since the beginning of the pandemic, with new arrivals arriving in droves to the area. from Palm Beach.
The club is located at the entrance to Phipps Plaza.
“I know people who don't go to restaurants between January and March because it's so hard to get a reservation,” said the member. "It'll be nice to be able to look forward to a great place with amazing food and not have to think about calling weeks in advance to make a reservation."
Privacy is of utmost importance
The club will enforce a strict no photography or phone policy, Paula Bickford said, and members have been receptive. "It's not about stopping you from using your phone, it's about letting you know that no one is using their phone, so you're relaxed knowing you're not on social media and you're in a place where you can have fun." , your family, your friends, along with good food, good atmosphere, good music and good art."
When asked about membership requirements, a Carriage House representative made the following statement: "Membership is carefully selected to reflect the sophisticated and fun atmosphere of the club and includes a diverse group of people with new and intergenerational connections to Palm Beach." .
Membership is limited by the City of Palm Beach and occupancy is limited to 225 people, except for special events where there will be 250.
Attention community members
Mish Tworkowski, who recently opened hisMish Jewelry Studioacross from the Carriage House buildings at Phipps Plaza, he and his team say they are excited about the new addition to the community: "As Carriage House neighbors, we are delighted with the beautiful renovation they have done to their historic buildings, Phipps Plaza and are sure to bring life and beauty to our wonderful part of Palm Beach."
Photographer Nick Mele, who winters in Palm Beach, sums up some of the initial skepticism that gave way to intrigue among community members: "I would doubt the city would support another private club until all these new ones start coming down the stairs. "during the pandemic," says Mele. "Now I think a lot of people are looking for fun things to get involved in. So in that sense, the timing might be perfect."
The new club scene in Miami and New York
The timing could be perfect, with chic private clubs recently opening in Miami and New York too. In Miami's Design District, Major Food Group collaborated with designer Ken FulkZZ club, which features a cigar lounge and contemporary Japanese restaurant with Tokyo seafood and the largest selection of Wagyu beef in South Florida. Heswimming club, Miami's oldest members' club, recently reopened after a major renovation to its 1927 Miami Beach building.
The Cipriani family opened in Lower ManhattanCipriani houselast September in the 1909 Beaux-Arts Battery Maritime Building. The club includes a restaurant, jazz café, spa, ballroom and 47 rooms and suites with private balconies overlooking the Brooklyn Bridge and the Statue of Liberty.
Uptown, on Fifth Avenue, the Brazilian restaurateur and JHSF opened theFasano Club on Fifth Avenue der Fasanolast year. With interiors by architect Thierry W. Despont, the club offers members the option to reserve 3,600-square-foot duplex suites overlooking Central Park. A few blocks south, theAmann Nova Yorkwill open this spring in the historic Crown Building at Fifth Avenue and 57th Street.
Members of the Aman Club, a worldwide private club withreportedThe US$100,000 admission fee and US$15,000 annual membership grant access to premium places at Aman destinations in urban areas. They can use private club areas at Aman properties in New York, Tokyo and Venice, as well as all of the brand's future urban destinations such as Aman Miami and Aman Nai Lert Bangkok. At Aman New York, the members-only Aman Club offers a cigar lounge and wine library on the 14th and 15th floors of the 83-room hotel.
Even in already exclusive places like Palm Beach and Aman Hotels, membership has its perks.
Contributing Digital Editor
Sam Dangremond is the contributing digital editor for Town & Country, where he covers menswear, cocktails, travel and the social scene.