What was hot when we opened in New York (and what's hot now)

What was cool when we opened in New York (and what’s cool now) | Soho House

A lot has changed since Soho House landed in America 20 years ago. We revisit the trends that grabbed us then and what we’re loving today

Monday 18 September 2023 By Samuel Muston

In 2003, we opened our first club in North America. Since breaking ground on Soho House New York, we have opened an additional 13 Houses across the continent (with plenty more to come – we’re looking at you Soho House Portland), and you can now enjoy a Picante in Nashville, Toronto or West Hollywood, to name a few. 

Life was very different 20 years ago. We still had glowsticks in nightclubs, and Nicole Richie and Paris Hilton were party icons. Nowadays, you’re more likely to see a green juice than a glowing stick, and Paris and Nicole are living a different kind of simple life.
 
To celebrate the 20 years that have passed since Soho House New York opened, here’s our guide to what life was like then compared to now.


Drinks

Then: Vodka & Cranberry
2003 was the year of the cranberry; New York was a-go-go, and whether served in Cosmo or Vodka & Cranberry form, this sweet pink concoction was at everyone’s lips. No wonder 2003 was the year of a baby boom – it went down like the devil in leather trousers.

Now: The Soho Sunset
We may be drinking a touch less these days (maybe) – but when we do drink, the hottest new tequila-based cocktail to hit our Houses in the Americas is number one on our hit list. 

What was cool when we opened in New York (and what’s cool now) | Soho House
What was cool when we opened in New York (and what’s cool now) | Soho House
What was cool when we opened in New York (and what’s cool now) | Soho House
What was cool when we opened in New York (and what’s cool now) | Soho House
Film

Then: Kill Bill: Volume 1
Tarantino’s gory woman-led revenge romp was one of the first films we screened at Soho House New York in September 2003. 

Now: Barbie
We’re all Barbie girls living in Barbie’s world today. Margot Robbie is the embodiment of plasticised womanhood and Ryan Gosling is the ultimate Ken. But then again, we’ve known that for years. Less gore, even more girl power, members loved our screenings of Barbie around our American Houses. 


TV

Then: Sex And The City
Take four New York women, a lot of cocktails and plenty of sex, and you have the series of the year. Charlotte, Carrie, Samantha and Miranda began to feel like our own friends. The show was nominated for 54 Emmys and one episode was filmed poolside at Soho House New York.

Now: Succession
A tale of greed, lust and lots of shouting on private jets, the last series of Succession was a triumph. But why did they kill off Logan so early in the series? Shiv’s wardrobe became the talk of Shoreditch House. Lazy power dressing to a tee.


Food

Then: excess
Plates were big, no one shared, and Mac and Cheese, steak and pizza reigned supreme. 

Now: small plates and salad
We bought those Luar jeans, and we intend to wear them. Bread is out, salad is in. Especially our Castelfranco, vincotto, pecorino toscano and mint salad at Soho House Toronto.
What was cool when we opened in New York (and what’s cool now) | Soho House
What was cool when we opened in New York (and what’s cool now) | Soho House
What was cool when we opened in New York (and what’s cool now) | Soho House

Music

Then: 50 Cent
2003 was a big year for big songs. From Beyoncé’s ‘Crazy In Love’, to Black Eyed Peas’ ‘Where Is The Love’ and Justin Timberlake’s ‘Rock Your Body’. But it’s really 50 Cent’s ‘In Da Club’, which sat at number one for a whole month in the lead up to the opening of Soho House New York, that speaks closest to our members’ mood at the time. 

Now: Kendrick Lamar
Kendrick Lamar performed at DUMBO House in Brooklyn in 2022. He looks like a god and has sold 10 million records globally.


Design

Then: mid-century modern
We might have been on the cusp of a new century, but we knew what was cool. And that was mid-century modern. Chairs made of wood the colour of caramel, lots of leather, all speaking with a Danish accent.

Now: Soho Home 
Soho Home started selling the interiors by Soho House dream in 2016 – so why would you buy your furniture from anywhere else in 2023? 

Sex

Then: the walk of shame
The walk of shame became a Saturday morning ritual. One-night stands were many and often. Alcohol was often the catalyst; and regret often the result. But hey, we were young.

Now: throuples
Two’s company, three’s a crowd. Or at least that’s what we used to think. Nowadays sexuality is as bendy as a palm tree at Soho Beach House Miami in the wind. And frankly, we’re here for it.


Holidays 

Then: backpacking escapes
Gregory David Roberts’ Shantaram had just been released, hot on the heels of Alex Garland’s The Beach – Thai Red Bull-fuelled backpacking trips around the subcontinent and south east Asia were where it was at. 

Now: wellness mini-breaks
We’re calmer these days. More Zen. Even Kate Moss is on the wagon. Just ask any of our members having a breather at one our Soho Retreats, which will be coming to the States in 2024 – being well feels good.