Taking the Party Global after a Mild Hangover ; Social Club Soho House Expands despite Mixed Success outside London

By Laporte, Nicole | International Herald Tribune, June 7, 2012 | Go to article overview

Taking the Party Global after a Mild Hangover ; Social Club Soho House Expands despite Mixed Success outside London


Laporte, Nicole, International Herald Tribune


The Soho House brand is cautious, given its mixed success with clubs outside of London, as it prepares to introduce five more outposts around the world.

When the London-based members-only social club Soho House opened a branch in New York's meatpacking district almost a decade ago, it seemed to confer a sense of exclusivity and festivity to a neighborhood that was radically reinventing itself. Raucous parties were held at the rooftop pool, where an invitation to lunch made one feel puffed out with self-importance; Harvey Weinstein showed films privately in the screening room; attractive women tottered toward the entrance in Jimmy Choo shoes.

But over the years, the club has struggled to settle into its identity in a night-life scene that has become more laid-back and rough-hewn, with entries like the Ace Hotel in midtown Manhattan and Roberta's over the bridge in Brooklyn stealing much of the buzz.

When Soho House became inundated with bankers and other social undesirables, a sign was put in the lobby showing a red line through the image of a suit. Some memberships were not renewed in 2010 as management attempted to purge the club's image as a happy-hour hot spot for hedge-fund managers on their way home to New Jersey. (A visit at 5 p.m. on the Friday of this past Memorial Day weekend found men in sweat pants joking with the lobby staff, and one stocky woman exiting carrying a Lord & Taylor bag.) And the death of the designer Sylvie Cachay there later in 2010 seemed an especially dark coda; it resulted in more news coverage than the club had received in years.

Soho House's chief executive, Nick Jones, who founded the club in 1995, now oversees 10 Soho Houses (six in Britain, three in the United States and one in Berlin), all of which adhere to a strict, Royal-Geographical-Society-meets-Dwell-Magazine design aesthetic. (One echoed in his finely tailored but untucked shirts and designer jeans.)

He believes the membership overhaul, which has been accompanied by an overall refurbishment of the club, has been effective. "We've made great strides in New York," he said in a recent phone interview. "To me, it's a much nicer club than it was two years ago, even a year ago." Still, he called the experience "our biggest mistake" and said, "I'll never let it happen again."

His caution is understandable as his company, adding to a portfolio that includes restaurants and more successful clubs in West Hollywood, California, and Miami, prepares to introduce five more outposts around the world: in Toronto, Chicago, Mumbai, Istanbul and Barcelona. By 2014, Mr. Jones said, jet-setting members will be able to sip Tanqueray and tonics overlooking the Arabian Sea. The expansion is being bankrolled by Ron Burkle, the supermarket billionaire and former close friend of Bill Clinton, who sank $383 million into the company in January to become a majority stakeholder.

In addition to his $3.2 billion fortune, Mr. Burkle, 59, is known as someone who enjoys a lively scene. The godfather of Sean Combs's twins, he reportedly once shared a crash pad with Leonardo DiCaprio and last year held an after-party for Kanye West and Jay-Z following their concert in Los Angeles.

But as for his impact on Soho House now that he is an owner, not just a member, Mr. Burkle (who has fallen out with Mr. Clinton over business, he told Bloomberg BusinessWeek) wrote in an e-mail: "I'm not short on opinions, but my style is to back the C.E.O. This is Nick's vision and his company."

On the phone, Mr. Jones laid out some of his vision, giving a virtual tour of the Toronto club, which opens in September.

"There's a club bar and drawing room on the ground floor, and we're putting reclaimed wood paneling on the walls," he said. "We have found an old 19th-century bar in Pennsylvania. There's white and black tile as you walk into the reception area, the ceiling is a painted coving ceiling. We found an old fireplace."

The Proustian precision with which Mr. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Taking the Party Global after a Mild Hangover ; Social Club Soho House Expands despite Mixed Success outside London
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.