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The Independent Culture
SOHO HOUSE: 40 Greek Street, W1. Tel: 0171-734 5188.

Waiting list: up to 21/2 years.

Membership: pounds 100 joining fee; pounds 300 a year.

What's so special about it? "We're here to look after our members. We're also the home of the British film industry," says Chris Podge, general manager.

Who goes there? Robert De Niro, Ewan McGregor.

GROUCHO: 45 Dean Street, W1. Tel: 0171-432 6316.

Waiting list: 2-3 years.

Membership: pounds 150 joining fee; pounds 325 a year.

What's so special about it? "It was the first of its kind... It's got a good mix of age-groups. It's also got a lot of space for the centre of London," says Nichola Carter, marketing manager.

Who goes there? Dawn French, Chris Evans, Stephen Fry, Damien Hirst.

THE MET BAR: 18-19 Old Park Lane, W1. Tel: 0171-447 5757.

Waiting list: closed, as 3,000 people are on it already.

What's so special about it? "Because we don't charge, we are a lot more exclusive; we have more control over who becomes a member, which means we can create our own atmosphere," says Kester Thomas, daytime manager.

Who goes there? Spice Girls, All Saints, The Chemical Brothers, Liam Gallagher.

BLACKS: 67 Dean Street, W1 (so exclusive, it doesn't want us to print a phone number).

Waiting list: one year.

Membership: pounds 250 for Londoners.

What's so special about it? "It's not a networking place at all. We're not out to make huge amounts of money; we provide a cheap place for our members," says "a spokeswoman".

Who goes there? Jibby Beane and Kate Winslet.

CHINAWHITE: 6 Air Street, W1. Tel: 0171-343 0040.

Waiting list: 6 months.

Membership: pounds 500 a year.

What's so special about it? "It's a different way of doing nightclubs. It hasn't been done in London before - in terms of age group and ambience, it's much more European," says spokesperson Rory Keegan.

Who goes there? Irvine Welsh, Noel Gallagher, Sir Bob Geldof, Harry Enfield.

TWO BRYDGES: Two Brydges Place, WC2. Tel: 0171-836 1436.

Waiting list: 3-4 months.

Membership: pounds 225 a year. What's so special about it? "The collection of people - they're very much at home here. There's show people, but no showing off," says Alfredo Fernandini, a partner.

Who goes there? Simon Callow and other thesps.