Code changes: Modern members clubs

SOHO HOUSE

Soho House

Soho House

It may have started in London, but since 1995 Soho House has expanded to cover 11 sites in Europe and North America. Adapting to fit the very different feel of east and west London while maintaining your identity is challenging enough, but Soho House manages this feat in locations as diverse as Berlin, Miami, Hollywood and New York. From a drinks perspective, the key is to combine local trends with a core selection found across every branch. Chris Ojeda, Soho House creative bar director, outlines the balancing act. “Winter time in New York is very cold and we’ll have a menu of hot drinks or dark spirits to satisfy that need, but in LA the weather is still pretty warm, so citrus and refreshing drinks are on the menu,” he explains. To create a unifying element across the drinks offering, three years ago the group introduced its House Tonic initiative. Each venue features the same four core cocktails – “they just happen to be the four most popular cocktails, so all our members – no matter which House they are in – will have their favourite drink,” says Ojeda. From this base, bartenders are free to use the rest of the list to reflect local classics or to show off their own creations. In Los Angeles, the club is located just across the street from the original site of the Cock ‘n’ Bull pub, which claims to have invented the Moscow Mule, As a result, says Ojeda, “our Soho Mule is one of our signature cocktails that we feature there.”

Although summing up the mood of the cocktail list as more classic than trend driven, Ojeda highlights barrel-aged Negronis, bottled cocktails and serving the Soho Mule on tap as useful trends, especially when the bar gets busy.

Again, it comes as no surprise that a many drinks brands jump at the chance to form partnerships with this international group of high fliers. In return, says Ojeda, “we are very keen to work with brands that share our same interest and goals.” Indeed, he notes the importance of such tie-ins for the group in developing a cohesive global drinks programme.

While the membership base of Soho House is as diverse as its locations, Ojeda notes: “One of the underlying similarities you will find is that our members are somehow tied to a creative arts field.” Above all, he insists: “Our club is not about status or money but having that home away from home for our members so they use the space as an office or write or just have a good time.”

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