Another current trend in the ‘food lovers’ space is the recent emergence of ‘membership only’ supper clubs and social dining clubs. These events range from professional chefs personally cooking for diners (both in their homes, open loft spaces, or in their restaurants), to multi-coursed themed dining, to social dining networking. Here are a variety of interesting private supper clubs/dinner clubs across the country.
Tasting Collective (New York, Chicago). With the tagline, the Food Lover’s Community, how could a foodie in the NYC area not join? The website describes the club as a place where members can enjoy access to private chef-led dining events at top restaurants, as well as exclusive perks for food-related brands. General membership cost $165/year and each event costs $40-50 per person per meal, plus tax and tip for members (extra $20 for nonmember guests). Why would I want to join you may ask? Well, Tasting Collective arranges private meals at select restaurants where 8-10 courses are served individually or family style. The unique selling point of this supper club is the fact that members get the opportunity to meet the chefs as they make a point of coming out of the kitchen, introducing themselves and explaining their inspiration behind each dish. Tasting Collective currently host events in NYC and Chicago about every other week. Seating is usually done in a communal style so that socialization amongst members is encouraged. According to the website, they host events at restaurants that are extremely well reviewed, as well as at newer restaurants that have not yet been reviewed. As a recent member, (I couldn’t help myself), you can bet you a** I’m going to blog about these events…
Filigree Suppers: (New York, Chicago). This pop up dinner series pairs imaginative food with American made design in both Chicago and New York. Events are held on Sunday evenings and owners, Brita Olsen and Elise Metzger partner with the best designers, craftsmen and artists to bring diners a beautiful table and ambiance that would put many weddings to shame. Diners meet at various locations centered around a theme that is meant to shine a light on an experimental factor. For example, their bittersweet dinner themed event which celebrated nostalgia and duet supper which featured a duo of textile artists. They promise an experience of an amazing sensors dinner met with a supremely designed atmosphere, and the possibility of meeting some great new friends. (I would be embarrassed to host a dinner party after attending one of these elaborate dinner parties!)
The Supper Club Inc. (New York, Miami, Los Angeles and San Francisco): on the higher, more exclusive, fancy f*** side of things is the Supper Club Inc. This club was founded in London in 2005 to unite likeminded, (let’s be honest, wealthy and privileged, – no judgement here!) individuals. Throughout the years, it has grown into a community of sophisticated members in New York, Los Angeles, Miami and San Francisco. Events include intimate chef tasting dinners in private homes to exclusive take overs at hot new restaurants to cocktail parties on private yachts. Apparently, membership is very exclusive, and strictly by invitation or referral only (if anyone was asking, I’m still waiting on my personal invitation. Don’t worry, I won’t hold my breath)! Membership ranges from $1,500 for their party only membership, which provides invitations for up to 6 events in one city, to their ultra-high-end VIP membership, which provides members access to unlimited events in New York, Los Angeles, Miami and San Francisco, as well as select pop up cities.
Gastronauts (New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles): This supper club presents itself as a club for adventurous eaters. (Think Fear Factor, but slightly less extreme). The concept was started back in 2006 when founders Ben and Curtiss realized they were tired of going to restaurants and being the only ones to order strange things off the menu. Today, the club has expanded to ~1,300 people in three cities, New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. In the New York branch, the club meets the first Tuesday of every month in a fun and bizarre new location. Membership is free, and open to anyone wanting to join and have fun. Dinner run about $50. Keep an open mind is their motto! (Personally, the fact that I may be eating fried crickets in Mexico City soon is enough to make me want to hurl…but to each his own…)
Victory Club: the concept behind Victory club is that events are hosted by artists, historians, and designers who help spark conversations about art. Events are held in galleries, artists’ homes, and other art spaces mainly in NYC, but also in London, Miami and the Hamptons. Membership costs $100/month and includes access to dinners and occasional gratis events. Each dinner costs about $70 per person. Events range from 8 to 70 people aged 21 to 40 and are held twice a month. The chef-founder, Chefanie, was ranked as one of America’s 100 best party hosts so you know these events are bound to be a great time. If you love art and food and food as an art form, this club just might be calling your name!
Omar’s: tucked beneath a beautiful Green Village townhouse, Omar’s is a private dining club run by Omar Hernandez. For those of you who didn’t know – (including me I will admit) …Hernandez is a behind the scenes fixture on the party circuit. Although he’s nowhere near the Beyoncé name status (okay, no one is near the Beyoncé status, but I digress) …his partygoers are certainly familiar with places he has supervised over the past few years, including Raleigh hotel in Miami, Standard Hotel in West Hollywood, and Mercer Kitchen in NYC. Members can hold meetings, eat, drink, and stay for as long as they like. The private club offers six distinct rooms, including a spectacular wine cellar, candlelit library bar and intimate verdant solarium. Members experience excellent service and delicious food in a sophisticated and elegant atmosphere with other refined members. Some say this private club has the most diverse and influential membership in NYC.
Godspeed: part supper club and part private tour of Chicago’s glamorous, less touristy places, Godspeed is all about secrecy and the element of surprise. Once willing participants confirm their reservation, they are given a provided location to show up at. Outings include fine dining, private tours, tableside entertainment and anything else they feel like conjuring up to make a unique dining experience. According to their website, you’ll meet new people, visit fascinating locations and learn about local history in an intimate group setting. The supper club can also be booked for group outings, special events and brand partnerships. Godspeed, when are you coming to NYC, why is Chicago getting all the lovin?!
L.U.S.T: Luke’s Underground Supper Table was named one of the top 15 underground supper clubs in the world. Participants can expect 4-5 courses of amazing food combined with great music, and a fun crowd gathered in a hip downtown venue. Dates and themes are announced on the website, through their newsletter and on their Twitter page. As you may expect, tickets are limited. Final details are sent out via email 48 hours before the dinner, including the venue’s information, arrival time and drink pairing recommendations (this supper club is BYOB). No two L.U.S.T events are alike (according their website). Past themes have included Northern Thailand inspired, McDonald’s World Tour and NYE 1920s. Sounds like a wild time!
Nommery: advertised as a social dining experience, Nommery pairs up like minded individuals with similar interests in small dinner parties at some of the best restaurants in San Francisco. Members are usually professionals in their mid-twenties to mid-fifties looking to mingle with likeminded people. When you sign up for an event, you pay a flat fee to eat family style while chatting with new friends. Often restaurants will develop a custom meal with some unique off menu items. Whether you’re looking to meet new friends, network or date, Nommery is a great way to meet other food enthusiasts in one of the best food cities in the USA!
Lazy Bear: described as a modern American dinner party, Lazy Bear hopes their dinner parties are the best you’ve ever attended. This supper club was founded in 2009 by chef-owner, David Barzelay who started by holding events in his own home. Eight years later, he’s since purchased a loft space and packs the house every night. Lazy Bear holds two seatings per night, (6pm – 9pm and 8:30pm – 11:30pm) Tuesday through Saturday, and tasting menu prices vary between $165 and $195 per person for 15+ courses. There is also an optional beverage pairing which includes five or six wines and a few other drinks for $95 per person plus tax and gratuities. The evening starts with a cocktail hour in a mezzanine made to look like someone’s retro, funky living room. After that, a chef ushers diners downstairs to take their seats at long communal tables. Throughout the meal, Barzelay or another chef greets the guest and passionately explains each dish as it is being served. Throughout the meal it is encouraged to get up from the table and talk to chefs as they work. (Can you imagine doing that in real life? No, I don’t need the manager, I’ll go in the kitchen and speak to the chef myself I’m not sure that we go down too well!) As you might expect, getting in isn’t easy. Each month, Lazy Bear posts a tweet revealing the date and time tickets for dinner the following month go on sale. Tickets often sell out within a day. Current mailing list has 43,000 people.
Re Creo Supper Club: this supper club was started by Chef Jean Valcarcel, a classically trained chef, and passionate culinary enthusiast who has worked in several prominent kitchens in Los Angeles. As a very talented and creative chef, he promises an evening of multi-course dining, curated music and an eclectic guest list of people. Events take place in a loft in downtown LA and are rather intimate. 12 to 36 diners get the opportunity to try a unique multi-course meal that that revolves around a theme. Past events have included a Southeast Asian Christmas party to a foodture is now party. Reviews on these events are spectacular!