It was 1995, when the space above Nick Jones’ French restaurant, Café Boheme in London, became available. Jones knew he wanted it, but because the entryway of the three-storey building was too small for a restaurant, he needed to do something different with it. The idea of a members-only club was born. Not a stuffy, old-world, leather-and-cigar-smoke-filled joint though, but a chic place for the city’s cool, creative set to hangout, work, entertain. Soho House London opened the same year, and soon became what Jones had envisioned for it – a thriving place that was as much for leisure as it was for exchange of ideas. With a long-waiting list of applicants.
Over the years more outposts sprung up in Europe and North America (Soho House New York, which opened eight years after London, was immortalised in an episode of ‘Sex and the City’). Twenty three in 23 years to be exact. The latest one: Soho House Mumbai, also Asia’s first Soho House.
“Mumbai is somewhere members have been asking for a House; it’s a city that’s been on our radar for a while,” says Jones. “Our partners Junobo showed me the building, and it was too good an opportunity to turn down, right on the beach in the Juhu neighbourhood.”
The roof at the 10th floor. Image: Courtesy Fabien Charuau Photography
The main members’ floor. Image: Courtesy Himanshu Lakhwani
Seeking to create a way of living for its members where work and personal life can mingle, Soho House Mumbai too carries forward the character of a creative community. Be it dawn, dusk, or any other time of the day, the club will allow for creative folks to interact in an uber-chic space. Dine, unwind, workout, or just work — take your pick at the 11-storey building in Juhu.
While all offerings such as the rooftop pool, 38 bedrooms, screening room, and more have members-only access, the two dining spaces, Cecconi’s Mumbai and The Allis, and the Paisley room for events, have opened doors to non-members as well. In signature Soho House style, all the elements are drawn from the local culture. Think lampshades made of sari fabrics, block printing on upholstery, works by local artists (including an installation by Subodh Gupta), brass lights, and cut glass.
With Arabian Sea on its west and the city on its east, we’re looking at days spent lounging by the pool or reading at the library, while evenings are ushered in by chandelier-lit halls, breezy balconies, and antique teak floors. Located at the epicentre of the millennium city’s creative cluster, it mirrors the House identity perfectly, what with Bollywood royalty ‘gramming away from Soho House Mumbai already.
Soho House Mumbai opened last week. They’re accepting membership applications on their website.