The Dally, North London’s first neighbourhood-focused private members club that celebrates local, is set to open in Islington, early this spring.
Founded by Caroline Baldwin and Claire Ilardi-Crow (above), The Dally is artfully crafted and will promote local socialising and champion good vibes.
Set in a delightful three-storey period townhouse at 181 Upper Street, London N1, the club is nestled between the boutique shops of the bustling streets. Sabi Phagura caught up with Caroline Baldwin to find out more.
Luxurious Magazine: Tell us, how did you come up with the idea of launching a private members club?
Caroline Baldwin: The origins of the club began back in 2016 when I moved back from Ghana to London. It was upon my return that Claire and I met at our respective daughters’ school. Claire had also recently moved back to London from New York and Sydney.
We soon began discussing how people make connections or friends if they do not have a connecting factor, such as the school gates or a workplace to go to.
Claire has worked in private members’ clubs for many years and is the ultimate connector, always introducing people or seeking out a new venue or idea for getting people together.
After the pandemic, we noticed that people’s lives were becoming much more focused on their local neighbourhoods and the thought of travelling into town for a night out or a meeting was becoming less appealing. We felt that Islington deserved somewhere that people could come together and call a second home, thus the idea of The Dally was born.
LM: Can you give us a flavour of what the private members club will offer its clients?
Caroline: The verb ‘to dally’ means to linger, to while away time, to flirt, or to amuse yourself. So, flirting, not the traditional romantic kind, but rather playful banter and engaging conversations.
The club is the culmination of everything we love and want our members to be able to enjoy, all on their doorstep: relaxing, socialising, conversation, memorable events, great food and flowing drinks wrapped up in a beautiful townhouse.
LM: Are there any criteria clients need to pass to become a member?
Caroline: The Dally is an inclusive club where personality is valued more than a profession. We didn’t want to create a club that was just for women or just for men, or just for creatives or just for business.
We have members from the worlds of fashion, food, finance, hospitality, the arts and beyond that an even greater range of backgrounds and interests. We encourage lively discussions, an exchange of ideas, and challenging one another’s perspectives.
Our members are sociable, interested and interesting people with a connection to the neighbourhood – whether they happen to live here, work here, or simply love the area. Anyone is welcome to apply, and we want every member who walks through our doors to feel embraced and accepted.
LM: How important was location when looking for a venue?
Caroline: A great deal of thought went into finding the perfect location for The Dally. As Islington residents, Claire and I know the neighbourhood inside out, so Upper Street, right in the heart of Islington with its many boutiques, independent stores and sense of community, was a natural choice.
Over the years, we have often commented that 181 Upper Street would make the perfect club, and we are delighted to be bringing this three-storey townhouse back to life.
LM: Take us through the interior design aspects of the club. When choosing a designer, what look were you anticipating?
Caroline: We wanted the club to feel like the home of your stylish best friend – personal, beautifully designed, yet incredibly relaxed.
Our designers, BusbyWebb, have created an interior concept based on a warm, welcoming and understated luxury home with a little cheekiness added – a place you always want to go to because you know you’ll always have a great time.
The mood of the club transitions throughout the day as the light changes and members explore the rooms.
Incorporating the original charm of the building alongside contemporary artwork, members can feel the inviting atmosphere throughout – the Jewel-coloured velvets in The Living Room, an intimate and light-filled restaurant, candlelit cocktail bar with a botanical twist and The Loft with its exposed brickwork, vaulted ceiling and original bar.
LM: There’s a lot of emphasis on connecting with the locals. Can you elaborate on this, please?
Caroline: Islington is a buzzy and beautiful melting pot. We’re bringing members together and creating a club with a genuine sense of community – a place for locals to connect and belong.
We’re passionate about supporting and promoting our neighbourhood – wherever possible, sourcing produce from local suppliers for our seasonal menus, showcasing local talent and products as part of our member events and spreading the word on happenings outside of the club.
LM: Will the club be holding events, seminars or anything of the like for its members?
Caroline: Absolutely! We have a full programme of member events lined up – from live music and comedy nights to talks, workshops, screenings and briefings.
LM: When will the club open its doors, and will there be a grand opening?
Caroline: We open our doors in April with a week of launch events introducing members to what they can expect at The Dally – great hospitality, new connections and of course good times!
The Dally – Where and How?
The Dally can be found at 181 Upper Street, London N1. The Dally Membership is £630 annually (or £66 per month) and a one-off £250 joining fee. Limited Membership applications are now open via the website www.thedally.com.