From Boujis to B… From Harry to Machine Gun Kelly. Marrying the classic with the contemporary.

March 27, 2024

How Carlo Carello and Jake Parkinson-Smith are merging generations to create London’s hottest nightclub, B London.

Jake and Carlo were the faces behind Boujis, ‘the club’ in West London for a generation of naughties naughty folk. 

Boujis was a hangout for… and in no order of preference… Prince Harry, Will and Kate, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Bradley Cooper. Rihanna and Beyonce finished off with David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Carlo Carello and Jake Parkinson-Smith

However, with its high-end but local feel, it became a hangout for many ‘less famous normal folk’. Young professionals would club together for bottle service, and beautiful women would skip the queue in true noughties style. If you got to know the door staff, you did not need to be a friend of a Royal or a supermodel to get in… although it helped.

It’s hard to tell who is more passionate and excited about their new project at B London

Jake, who has the air of a sophisticated English gentleman, first trained at The Savoy before venturing into clubs. Carlo worked his way from the ground up as an event organiser, throwing wild parties, and then moved into PR and management before becoming an owner. They were seduced by clubland from the age of 18 and both have retained that youthful enthusiasm.

The young royals had Jake and Carlo on speed dial

Off the record, the young royals (Wills and Harry) had Jake and Carlo on speed dial when they needed a fun and safe night out at Boujis in the early noughties. Carlo bought an array of famous DJs and fresh ideas, so the club remained fresh. He and Carlo have been best friends and business partners for 15 years.

Jake tells me, “It’s not Boujis… it’s B London. We have taken the ethos, some of the great personalities, and passion behind Boujis and created something newer and, quite frankly, better. Andrew is my cousin and was involved with the original Boujis, keeping it family!”

“We want people to feel at home, and the staff should know your name and favourite drink. Our team genuinely loves working here. People come in with smiles, so our guests feel that vibe and warmth.”

When I pressed Carlo and Jake separately about the core values, without hesitation, they answered firmly that the team was friendly, kind, and warm. Jake spoke about how he is such a fan of a great local Italian restaurant and how they make their customers feel like family. 

Carlo Carello and Jake Parkinson-Smith

At B London, they pride themselves on that familiarity and warmth, and he is clearly inspired by those traditional family-run venues.

“It’s been an insanely successful first year of B London. It’s been our best-performing club in the past 10 years,” a slightly sleep-deprived Carlo Carello grinned about.

“Jake and I had a motto at Boujis.. which we are doubling down on at B… which is… to treat ALL of our customers like f*&king rockstars!” he professed passionately, slamming his right hand on one of his sturdy tables.

“Boujis was the club of the noughties,” Carlo continued. “And now B London is the club of the mid-twenties and hopefully beyond.”

It’s like Boujis… but with a Gen Z twist.

When B London opened, I asked my socialite friend, Claudie, off the record… “What is B London really like?” She said, “Oh, it is actually really, f**king cool. It’s like Boujis… but with a Gen Z twist. The energy is the same, and it’s so cool they have some of the old faces.”

You cannot just purchase wisdom. It takes a wealth of experience to create that level of instinct, knowledge, and deep understanding of what makes a world-renowned club. That is why Carlo and Jake have hired some original faces, from the door-to-floor staff to the ‘door picker’… all supported by a fresh young PR and marketing team and a black book of celebrities, agents, and managers that would make CAA blush.

“Posh boy clubbing” was what Boujis was famously (or infamously) known for. However, B London’s design, ambience and approach feel slightly rawer. The urban, concrete-esque design focuses on great music (not just famous DJs) and décor. It does not have that sterile malic feel that many ‘high-end clubs’ seem to still employ.

It is undoubtedly quintessentially British… after all, they are in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. From the Red Phone Box to the custom Britpop-esque art hanging from the walls. It has a fun feel but is more rustic, giving it a sense of a place you can let loose. If the odd glass of champagne or crack baby (their signature shot) splashes against the wall… no one will make a fuss. 

Jake refers to it as “East London cool in West London. Not been done”.

Carlo is proud of the insane energy levels at 1 am with its low ceilings and intimate feel with the DJ booth and artists.

Carlo Carello and Jake Parkinson-Smith

Personally, I very much enjoyed the Cuban Speakeasy, called Cubanista, which is a unique separate room in where you can chill out. You enter through a phone booth filled with escort cards from the seventies to a relaxed cocktail bar. Guests can take a break from the madness of the club and perhaps catch the name of the person you recently met on the dance floor.

B London is not a tribute act to Boujis. I have found that clubs that ‘reform’ sometimes offer a nostalgic jolly, which only the ageing patrons from a previous generation appreciate. Here is where the young and the beautiful come to the party. Their focus on house music and DJs appeals to a younger, dynamic crowd. 

I am certainly not a Chelsea boy. Being from Manchester, I could never be accused of not being posh… an apparent contradiction in terms some might claim. 

However, I loved partying at Boujis in my twenties and hanging out at B London now. West London, in particular, has a real USP in that they feel local and warm, and a venue has the potential to become a real social hub. Something that has been lost in many clubs since the advent of dating apps. Party people in West London tend to go out to meet new people… in the real world… where you to see the whites of their eyes and get a sense of who the person actually is without having to swipe through filters, bots and fakes.

You get to see regulars and, to me at least, it has all the beautiful things folk love about the timeless ‘great classic British pub’… just with stunningly beautiful people, famous DJs, wild energy, human-size bottles of Vodka and celebs with more Instagram followers than Yen.

Creating a luxurious environment where the Bitcoin rich and famous can let loose with a down-to-earth vibe is challenging. The team have legitimately nailed that. It will be exciting to see how it evolves in the coming years.

As I was leaving, Carlo shouted to me to make sure I came down next week…” We are open from Tuesday to Sunday, and it will be packed every night.”

The original founders at B London (in no particular order) are Steve Manktelow, Barth Rougier, Jake Parkinson-Smith, and Carlo Carello. Andrew Campbell and Jessy Jezequel recently joined as Partners.

Peter McSweeney

By Peter McSweeney

Peter is a screenwriter, director and producer. He's the writer and editor for Capital A List covering all things luxury in the restaurants, hotel and bar scene.

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