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Soho House: club of great fabulousness or the Starbucks of nightlife?

The patio at the New York Soho House (Image: Peter C)

Soho House’s chief executive Nick Jones spilled some details about the new super-exclusive-extra-special V.I.P. club planned for Toronto in the New York Times last Friday. In a feature looking at the global expansion of the members-only club, Jones spells out some of the décor of the new Toronto digs: a 19th-century bar from Pennsylvania, reclaimed wood paneling on the walls, a club bar and a drawing room on the ground floor—all a fitting match for the historic exterior. But with the company’s expansion comes murmurs of brand dilution and confusion (the phrase “nightlife equivalent of Starbucks” has been bandied about). According to the Times, the New York City spot never quite lived up to the hype (the company purged memberships in 2010 to try to fix its image of a playground for hedge-funders), with one nightclub watcher quoted as saying, “As far as the cachet of fabulousness overall, I think it eluded them.” Still, the Hollywood Soho House has been a hit, so the success of the club seems pretty location-specific. Which raises the question: is Toronto a New York or a Los Angeles? [New York Times]