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Annabel's is a private members' restaurant and Nightclub on Berkeley Square in Mayfair, London.[1]

Conrad Black

Conrad Black and Barbara Amiel had their wedding dinner at Annabel's in 1992. Guests included Margaret Thatcher, Lord Weidenfeld, Lord Rothschild, Richard Perle, Max Hastings and the Duchess of York.[2]

Policy Forum

A Donors Guide produced by the Philanthropy Roundtable in 2006 gave the London address of the Policy Forum on International Security Affairs as 44 Hays Mews.[3] This is Annabel's address.[4]

Paul Wolfowitz

Peter Boyer in the New Yorker recounts a visit to Annabel's by Paul Wolfowitz on 6 October 2004:

That evening, he hosted a gathering of British writers at Annabel's, in Mayfair, and their questions quickly turned to the subject of Rumsfeld's remark earlier in the week that he'd seen no hard evidence of an Al Qaeda-Iraqi connection. This had prompted hurried defensive strategizing at the Pentagon, and Rumsfeld put out a clarification of his statement. Still, the issue lingered. The C.I.A.'s latest assessment, based on information gathered since the end of major combat, cast further doubt on the connection, and was now in circulation.
Wolfowitz often prefaces his response to questions about this issue, as he did at Annabel's and at the Aspen Institute earlier this year, by posing a question of his own. It's a sort of parlor game that he plays. He asks, in a professorial whisper, "How many people here have heard of Abdul Rahman Yassin, if you'd raise your hand?" In a room of two dozen people, no more than two or three will raise their hands.[5]

Wolfowitz highlighted Yassin's role in the 1993 World Trade Center bombings, and the links between this event and the 9/11 attacks:

He fled to Iraq. “It would seem significant that one major figure in that event is still at large,” Wolfowitz says. “It would seem significant that he was harbored in Iraq by Iraqi intelligence for ten years.”
Many intelligence analysts believe that the presence of Yassin in Iraq was not particularly meaningful. Not long after his arrival there, Yassin, who grew up in Baghdad, was detained by the Saddam regime, and in 2002 he was even interviewed by “60 Minutes” in an Iraqi holding cell; if he was being “harbored,” the argument goes, it was only as a detainee that Saddam hoped to use as a bargaining chip with the United States. Furthermore, during the run-up to the war the Administration didn’t make Yassin a major issue.[6]

Nick Cohen described meeting Wolfowitz at Annabel's in What's Left?:

I saw him at press briefing in London in 2004. It was a disconcerting occasion. His adviser told me to meet him in a Mayfair nightclub more usually associated with minor royals than shabby journalists. To make matters worse, the bulk of Wolfowitz's audience consisted of Conservative pundits I'd attacked over the years - occasionally fairly. This wasn't my world and I found the only other leftie in the room and huddled next to him for warmth. We listened to Wolfowitz present a coherent case for helping the democratic movement in Iran fight the priests. It was hard not to be impressed by his seriousness of purpose.
"On the way out, I asked my friend, "what's wrong with supporting the overthrow of a theocracy?"
"Well, it may not work, but apart from that, nothing."[7]

Cohen gave another account of meeting Wolfowitz in the Evening Standard:

FEW months ago, I received a call from a pleasant American who said that Paul Wolfowitz had read my articles in the New Statesman. Wolfowitz reading the Lefty New Statesman?
Yes, and he was coming to London and would like me to join him at Annabel's. After I had mumbled that I wasn't from the best society and she'd have to tell me where Annabel's was, I went along. I was clearly in the presence of real power - it wasn't at all like being in the same room as Michael Howard.
But, equally clearly, I was in the presence of a politician who was committed to extending human freedom.[8]

According to Cristina Odone, "when Paul Wolfowitz asked to meet some of Britain's leading journalists, The Observer's Nick Cohen found himself sitting next to John Lloyd and Charles Moore, drinking champagne.[9]

Jeffrey Gedmin

Jeffrey Gedmin visited Annabel's on 20 July 2005.[10]

Former Owner Mark Birley

Rumsfeld Meeting

Annabel's former owner Mark Birley met US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on 13 September 2005, according to the Daily Mail:

Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld touched down briefly at Heathrow yesterday morning in Air Force Two. Republicans here organised a breakfast in the VIP lounge with some of 'Britain's top opinion formers'. Meaning those most likely to grovel to 'bomb 'em all' Mr Rumsfeld.
They included upper-class caterer Mark Birley, owner of Annabel's nightclub; Rightwing Iraq War zealot William Shawcross; former editor of The Daily Telegraph, Charles 'Lord Snooty' Moore; pro-Israel writer David Pryce-Jones; and enthusiastic Atlanticist historian Andrew Roberts. My source says: 'I can understand why these fully paid-up George W Bush supporters were asked but why Mark Birley?' Perhaps he was giving 'Rummie' honorary membership of Annabel's, thought to have been a favourite haunt of wealthy Saudi Osama Bin Laden in his pre-terrorist days.[11]

The most likely explanation for Birley's presence is that the republicans who organised the meeting were from Policy Forum, which Annabel's was providing with a base.

The Observers Richard Ingrams' said of this meeting, "Perhaps Rumsfeld genuinely believed that these posh toadies represented the creme de la creme of the British opinion-forming classes. If so, he must have gained a rather strange impression of this country."[12]

Political Donations

Annabels' former owner Mark Birley was a political donor to Michael Gove.[13]


  1. Home, Annabel's, accessed 4 September 2009.
  2. David Israelson, Tycoon Black marries journalist Amiel, Toronto Star, 22 July 1992.
  3. Nadia Schadlow, The Struggle Against Radical Islam, A Donors Guide, Philanthropy Roundtable, December 2006, p51.
  4. Company Details, Annabel's, accessed 3 September 2009.
  5. Peter J. Boyer, THE BELIEVER, Paul Wolfowitz defends his war, New Yorker, 1 November 2004.
  6. Peter J. Boyer, THE BELIEVER, Paul Wolfowitz defends his war, New Yorker, 1 November 2004.
  7. Nick Cohen, What's Left? How the Left lost its way?, Harper Perennial, 2007, pp.81-82.
  8. AND WHAT NOW FOR THE OTHER WRONGED PARENTS, Nick Cohen, Evening Standard,21 June 2005, p. 15
  9. It's going to be all change at Annabel's, by Cristina Odone, The Observer, 10 June 2007.
  10. Jeffrey Gedmin, Merkel Time, Letter from Europe, The American Spectator, September 2005.
  11. Ephraim Hardcastle, Daily Mail, 14 September 2005.
  12. Richard Ingrams, Diary: Richard Ingrams's week: A recipe for fatal errors: Tougher anti-terror laws will open the way to more mistakes by the state and police, The Observer, 18 September 2005.
  13. Mystery over Michael Gove's cash resolved, The First Post, accessed 3 September 2009.