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Best Of 2023 - SoHo House Has Gone To Hell

Mike Coppola. Getty Images.

SoHo House. 

If you don't know what it is, jump out of this blog right now and head for the kiddie pool of a Marty blog, for we're heading toward privileged waters too rich for your blood. Worry not, little one: life is filled with wonder, even on the bottom rung of the social ladder. 

SoHo House is a members-only social club, but you might call it a socialite club. They have locations in the more cosmopolitan cities around the globe—London, New York, LA, Paris, etc. It's a place to see and be seen. More importantly, it's a place to pat one's back for being among those who pat their own backs.  

I've been as a guest a few times over the years. It never went well. An ex-flame once brought me to lounge on towel-covered pool chairs and sip aperol spritzes as we side-eyed the buzzy clientele. I'd be introduced to friends who held out limp hands as though all the bones were broken, like flaccid flags on a windless cove. Like I was supposed to kiss their hand. Which I never did given that bitches be wiping their two-holes sans washing which can lead to both Heps A and E. 

I remember meeting a lot of people who work in art galleries two days per week. This seems to be the job you take when you don't need a real job in New York. Grab your croissant and a cappuccino and head over to some glassy art cave in the West Village to smile courteously at patrons who possess a depth of pocket worthy of attending, then lean in to praise the provenance of a piece covered in recycled whale harpoons and wait politely as they facetime their interior designer, for they hold zero agency themselves on how to decorate their three bedroom pied-à-terre overhanging Washington Square Park. 

The flagship NY location is in the Meatpacking district. They have a tiny rooftop pool that one is meant to look at but not touch. Dip a toe but oh-ho, do not immerse fully within that sacred pool of embalming fluid. The unspoken rule is that you arrange yourself around the pool but those who would enter the pool, especially during cocktail hour, out themselves for the brutish knaves they are. The pool kind of sucks anyway; it's certainly not deep enough for handstand or diving contests. However, I did ask a pair of gay Costa Ricans if they would time me as I attempted to hold my breath underwater. When I surfaced, purple-faced and sputtering from commitment, a towel boy wagged a punitive finger at me, which he then pointed to a sign prohibiting breath-holding contests. The Uber ride home was silent. 

I've always disliked the place. But now I hate it. To be clear, I don't necessarily hate the members (though I do hate many of them); I more hate the club itself. The staff, the parties, the vibe, the pungent, tangible fog of self-importance. Don't get me wrong—I'm all for the creation of walled worlds to separate the haves from the haven'ts. These delineations are necessary to maintain order in a just society. Imagine if every golf course were public? Unraked bunkers and traffic jams on every par three? Imagine the state of the greens! Covered in scars from the shuffled feet of fatties and poors too lazy to lift their cankly heels high enough for a proper step. Instead they glide, shuffle, and ooze their way through a four-putt that frizzes the putting surface like a pilling cashmere sweater. 

We can't. The walls exist for a reason. Let them stand as motivation for those outside and affirmation for those within. 

My quarrel with SoHo House has more to do with its plummet in quality. I also hate how far the club has departed from its founding ethos. It was once a bastion for Bohemian oddballs, artists, and the creatively-inclined. They swore to never allow a finance bro to join. But since SHCO's IPO in 2021, they've realized that growing their membership is a necessary evil to growing their share price. The criteria for candidates seems to be less exacting now, the microscope under which applicants pass less finely-tuned. 

With a swelling membership comes a drop in service and quality. It's that much harder to reserve one of those pool lounge chairs now; that much harder to catch the attention of the wait staff. Where before you could count on an icy bottle of Sancerre alongside some deftly-shucked oysters, now you'll have to sift through shards of shell within each mouthful of Wellfleet. The bartenders are making twice as many spicy mezcal margaritas, and the quality drops by half. Plus, it's a safe bet to assume a few Goldman analysts have slipped in through the eaves, trading their trademark canvas gym bags for less conspicuous vintage satchels. 

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I'm not a member, nor have I ever tried to become one. A lot of these theories are assumptions formed from keeping my ear to the street. I also live within earshot of the SoHo House location in Brooklyn, Dumbo House. They play loud music some evenings and, for whatever reason, people actually swim hard in the pool there. Try as I might, I can't ignore the buzzing hive of activity that is the Dumbo House. Many are the nights I've spent dreaming of filling water balloons with a cocktail of my own bodily fluids to then slingshot my semen bombs into their pool, shutting it down for a day of quiet cleaning.  

Alas, homemade bioweapons are a major no-no in New York City. So I'll take to my keyboard for 1,000 words of complaining. Imagine a blog from an elitist douchebag whining about how an elitist douchebag colony has become less elitist? 

Not my Barstool. 

PS- If you're anyone these days, you're at Casa Cipriani or Zero Bond.