We can't even begin to tell you how much we miss all of our favourite spots from the book. To satisfy our cravings, we've been flipping through the pages, imagining we're visiting the dreamiest bars & most killer workouts. And seeing as we've been just as busy as ever, there's one place we've missed more than almost anywhere else: Soho House. Whenever we really need to hunker down to get some work down, we always nestle into a quiet corner at Soho House. The space is warm & inviting but peaceful enough to knock any work out of the park. Plus, we love being able to grab a bite or an after work drink all in the same spot. We had a chat with Soho House's founder, Nick Jones, to find out all about what goes on behind the scenes at this global empire and what makes the Amsterdam location so very special.
gloobles: Obviously, Soho House has been around for years and been up and running in Amsterdam for nearly two years now. Can you tell us what it’s like to have founded such a storied brand?
Nick: I always wanted to be in a job where I got people to have a good time, & I’m passionate about eating & drinking. I already had a restaurant in London’s Soho, Café Boheme, which has been there since 1992. The landlord called and offered me the space above. I looked at it and thought it couldn’t be a public restaurant because it was just a small door, so how about a private members' club? It was three houses in Soho, so that's how Soho House started. I’d never been a member of a club myself. Soho House is a very down to earth business; it’s not about luxury. Everything we do is about comfort and creating a home away from home for our members. We are inclusive not exclusive; it’s not about one individual member but the power of the community as a whole.
gloobles: That's such a refreshing attitude. So many clubs focus on keeping people out, rather than making them feel a part of something. What were you doing before you founded Soho House?
Nick: I began as a graduate trainee at Trusthouse Forte and then grew into the role of marketing manager at the Grosvenor House Hotel in Park Lane. Eight years later, I launched my own trio of restaurants called Over the Top, and in 1992, I opened Café Boheme in Soho, London.
gloobles: We'd love to be able to see Café Boheme in its early days. If you weren’t building your empire with Soho, what would your dream job be?
Nick: I always wanted to be in a job where I got people to have a good time, so it would still be in hospitality.
gloobles: That makes sense. It also shows you're clearly in the right business! We adore the Bungehuis. What’s its story? Why did Soho House choose this location?
Nick: We always look for exceptional buildings with a special story. The Bungehuis is a beautiful 1930s building, and we wanted to respect that in the design. The building was built originally as a Trading Office, and as of the 70s, it served as a university building. The six-story ‘National’ monument is characterised by numerous expressive details. For example, the front & rear of the property are covered with slabs of limestone & granite, and the entrance is flanked by art deco sculptures. The ten window axes that feature on the front & the rear of the property include bays with bronze framed windows. The interior includes special features through the use of chrome, brass, milk glass & tropical timber, as well as glazed tiles that feature the ‘Porceleyne Fles’ in Delft.
gloobles: It really is quite an impressive building, not only in scale but also in the attention to detail. Other than Amsterdam’s Soho House, which is your favourite outpost in the world?
Nick: Each House we open is different and is defined by the membership in that place – the members, events, the food & drink – everything is localised & tailored to that community. I therefore appreciate all our Houses for their uniqueness.
gloobles: We can imagine it's impossible to choose just one. Do you have a favourite room in the hotel?
I think all of our rooms are beautiful. Each of the rooms has antique pieces mixed with designed furniture & rugs. The first floor bedrooms are mostly Monumental Rooms, with tiles that have been restored by a specialist team, restored art deco lighting & mosaic tiled floors. We’ve kept as many of the original details as possible. All of the spaces reflect the history of the building.
gloobles: And how about the dish you order from House Kitchen when you’re in Amsterdam?
Nick: The bitterballen for sure.
gloobles: They're too good to resist. A true Dutch delicacy! Do you go to Cowshed often? What’s your favourite treatment?
Nick: I don’t go very often, but I think all of our Cowshed treatments are very good.
gloobles: You're probably too busy - no time for relaxation! Describe your perfect day in Amsterdam.
Nick: On the boat on the canals, having a drink on the roof and then visiting another bar in the city centre.
gloobles: Sounds like a great day to us. Who would you love to see as a dream member of Soho House (we imagine pretty much everyone cool is already a member, but there must be someone!)?
Nick: In the past 20 years, we have built an incredible member community, with great people from all different creative backgrounds. The new generation Z is filled with talented young people who keep amazing me. I look forward to embracing them in our community.