Annabel's was founded in 1963, after Birley's friend John Aspinall decided that they needed somewhere to party after an evening's gambling. As a result, Birley turned the basement of Aspinall's casino, the Clermont Club, into a nightclub, and named it after his then wife, Annabel, who went on to marry Birley's friend, Sir James Goldsmith. Birley later blocked off the private staircase linking the Clermont above.
Annabel's is a members-only nightclub and catered to an exclusive clientele, including the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, Princess Anne, US President Richard Nixon, Aristotle Onassis and Frank Sinatra. In 2003, the Queen visited the club, and it is thought to be the only nightclub the Queen has ever attended. 
Entertainers who have played there include Tina Turner, Ray Charles, Ella Fitzgerald, Diana Ross, Bryan Ferry and Lady Gaga. The sumptuous interior which was originally designed by Birley and designer Nina Campbell, has since been updated by Birley's daughter, India Jane, but the paintings from Birley's collection remain.
On the evening of 5 June 2007, after more than a year of negotiations, Annabel's was acquired by Richard Caring a clothing tycoon and owner of The Ivy restaurant, in a deal thought to be worth £90 million. The deal also included the purchase of three other nightclubs including Mark's Club. The original Annabel's closed its doors in 2018. A successor day and night club was opened in a building nearby with a different membership.
- Roberts, Glenys (8 July 2011). "Bent cards, the Chancellor's granny and the Mayfair hustler". Daily Mail. London.
- "Aristocrats' favourite nightclub Annabel's sold for £90m". Daily Mail. London. 6 June 2007.
- Morgan, Ben (29 January 2015). "Mayfair members club Annabel's set to relocate after more than 50 years". Evening Standard. Retrieved 22 February 2016.
- Mount, Harry (20 January 2015). "Why there'll always be an Annabel's". The Telegraph. Retrieved 22 February 2016.
- "Club Class? Past and future of Annabel's". The Independent. London. 10 August 2005.