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Almack's

A suite of assembly rooms in King Street, St. James's (London), built in 1765 by a Scotchman named Macall, who inverted his name to obviate all prejudice and hide his origin. Balls, presided over by a committee of ladies of the highest rank, used to be given at these rooms; and to be admitted to them was as great a distinction as to be presented at Court. The rooms were afterwards known as Willis's, from the name of the next proprietor, and used chiefly for large dinners. They were closed in 1890

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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