Monday, 11 June 2012
For the brief time of its existence (1809-19), Watier's at 81 Piccadilly burned brightly on the London club scene. The Prince Regent suggested the creation of a club using his French chef, Jean-Baptiste Watier – and after whom the club was named. Prinny also proposed his erstwhile friend Beau Brummell as president. According to one of the members, there is no doubt that the Beau reigned supreme: "Laying down the law in dress, in manners, and in those magnificent snuff boxes, for which there was a rage; he formented the excesses, ridiculed the scruples, patronised the novices, and exercised paramount dominion over all."
While the food was declared to be the best in London, it was the card tables which attracted the most attention. Many fortunes were lost to a "bank" that had been set up by a group of members. It was Lord Byron who coined the term "The Dandy Club" when he remarked that: "I like the dandies, they were always very civil to me."
There is no plaque marking the site and 81 Piccadilly, on the corner with Bond Street, has been substantially re-modelled. Nearest tubes Green Park or Piccadilly Circus.