Soho House, a group of private members’ clubs with venues across the world, is planning to open in Glasgow, offering a hub for “people involved in creative industries”.
Launched in London in 1995, Soho House has spread to over 30 locations worldwide and Glasgow is “very much at the forefront of the list for future opening”.
Founder Nick Jones revealed plans to open in the city in an interview last year and the company has now secured a provisional premises licence from Glasgow’s Licensing Board, allowing alcohol to be sold in its bars and restaurant. The venue would also have a “breakout space” and roof terrace.
Niall Hassard, the licensing lawyer representing Soho House, said the venue is set to open on a site “in and around George Street”. It will be over four floors and membership fees, for over 27s, are expected to be around £1,400 per year.
A development manager for Soho House, who is from Glasgow, said the city was high on the list for new openings “on the back of the film industry taking over”.
“We are a hub for creative people, we are in the industries of media, film, arts, fashion, TV,” he added. “People say ‘why don’t you go to Edinburgh?’. Edinburgh doesn’t have such a big film industry, it’s not the hub. The BBC is here, STV is here, Channel 4.
“We are appealing to those people in those industries to come and network.”
The original Soho House opened at 40 Greek Street, Soho, London. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle reportedly had their first date in a Soho House venue, meeting at Dean Street Townhouse, London.
In March last year, Mr Jones was interviewed by The Times, which reported, over the next three years, clubs would be opened in Glasgow, Manchester and Brighton. It will be the first time a Soho House club has been opened in the UK outside southern England.
Mr Jones is married to former Desert Island Discs presenter Kirsty Young, who was born in East Kilbride and began her career in Glasgow. In The Times interview, he joked he had been “under pressure to do Glasgow from a certain quarter for some time”.
“Glasgow is where it properly happens,” he said. He later added: “Britain is not just about London. We’re very excited to be opening in the north of England and Scotland.”
Mr Hassard said Glasgow councillors had been invited on a site visit although there isn’t currently “a huge amount to look at”. He said the site is part of larger plans “in and around George Street” to “really bring that back to life”.
“The premises is described as a members club and that’s true to the extent there will be a membership process but I think I need to make it clear, this isn’t pitched at the old boys’ network,” he added.
“This is proudly inclusive and what they seek to do is bring together people from all different backgrounds with a central thread of creativity. This is a creative hub for people involved in creative industries, whether that be artists, producers, graphic designers, musicians etc.”
The club, which has over 130,000 members worldwide and a waiting list in the region of 80,000, will have two membership categories. Under 27s would be charged around £45 per month while over 27s would be asked to pay about £1,400 per year.
“We have a mentoring system,” the development manager said. “If you are under 27 and a member of the club, you can have a more established person as your mentor. It’s a family dynamic.”
He added a membership committee would be formed in Glasgow to create a core of around 200 to 300 invited members. They would “go through the local demographic”, he said, giving Glasgow School of Art and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival as examples of where members could come from. “From there they talk to friends who are also in that industry,” he added.