|Headquarters||18 Clifford Street, London, United Kingdom, SW1|
Buck's Club is a gentlemen's club in London, located at 18 Clifford Street, established in June 1919. P. G. Wodehouse mentions it in some stories and modelled his Drones Club mostly after Buck's. It is probably best known for the Buck's Fizz cocktail, created there in 1921 by its bartender McGarry. Anthony Lejeune in his book The Gentlemen's Clubs of London (1979) comments that "Buck's Club is the only London Club to have been founded since the First World War which ranks, in social prestige and elegance, with the best of St James's Street clubs: and like them, it is named after its founder."
During the First World War, Captain H. J. (Herbert John) Buckmaster of the RHG and some of his colleagues agreed that after the war it would be good to establish a gentlemen's club that was somewhat less stuffy than those that currently existed. Indeed, they particularly wanted a club with an American Cocktail Bar, something then beyond the pale for most traditional gentlemen's clubs.
The club was established in June 1919 and its American Bar was a focal point. American members were welcome although treated separately from a constitutional standpoint. The club for many years kept its tradition of sourcing members from the Household Cavalry regiments although its membership is now drawn from many walks of life and is renowned for its exuberance and the youth of its membership.
The Club is probably best known for seeing the creation of the Buck's Fizz cocktail in 1921 by its first bartender, Mr McGarry. (Barman from 1919 to 1941, sometimes "Malachy McGarry" or "Pat McGarry", or spelled "MacGarry", he is also usually credited with creating the Sidecar cocktail).
It receives three mentions in the stories of P. G. Wodehouse; Wodehouse modelled his fictional Drones Club after the Buck's Club and the Bachelors' Club, even naming his club's barman "McGarry" too.
Norman Murphy the distinguished Wodehouse historian: "As the summary at the beginning of Eggs, Beans and Crumpets puts it:
In the heart of London's clubland there stands a tall and grimly forbidding edifice known to taxi-drivers and the elegant young men who frequent its precincts as the Drones Club. Yet its somewhat austere exterior belies the atmosphere of cheerful optimism and bonhomie that prevails within.
In fact, Wodehouse never became a member here but his friend Guy Bolton did and they lunched together here several times. In The Inimitable Jeeves it was here that Bertie, who had dropped in for a quick bracer to fortify himself before lunch with Aunt Agatha, was informed by Bingo Little, speaking injudiciously loudly, of his love for Honoria Glossop, in front of McGarry, "the chappie behind the bar .. listening with his ears flapping". Rarely, Wodehouse had used a real name. McGarry was the barman at Buck's from 1919 to 1941. Fred Thompson had also come into the bar – the real Fred Thompson, a friend of Wodehouse's, was also a member of Buck's".
To view a list of current members, see list of Buck's Club members.
Notes and references
- Lejeune, A. (1979) The Gentlemen's Clubs of London, Dorset Press.
- English Heritage (1963). ""Cork Street and Savile Row Area: Clifford Street, South Side: No. 18 Clifford Street: Buck's Club" (page 482-88)". Survey of London: volumes 31 and 32: St James Westminster, Part 2 (at British History Online). Retrieved 2007-08-11.
Buck's Club was founded here in June 1919 by Captain H. J. Buckmaster 'and a number of fellow officers of the Blues'.
- Alexander-Sinclair, Ian (report) (2007). "Bertie Wooster's Mayfair". Norman Murphy's talk at Wodehouse Week 2007 (The PGW Society UK). Archived from the original on 2007-08-11.
[...] Buck's Club, founded in 1919 by Herbert Buckmaster in nearby Clifford Street [...] McGarry was the barman at Buck's from 1919 to 1941.
- Two less reliable and possibly inbred sources say 1918: Clubs list from The Royal Bachelors' Club Archived August 17, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.; off-site wiki Webtender.com.
- The Buck's Club is visited by Bertie Wooster in 1923's The Inimitable Jeeves and is mentioned in 1931's Big Money and If I Were You.