Why our Hard Hat Dinner is a well-kept Soho House tradition
Conceived as a get-together for Founder members before a House officially opens, it’s remained a celebration of creative communities all over the world
Monday 7 November 2022 By Anastasiia Fedorova
There is always a palpable sense of excitement around our new House openings – especially seeing the transformation of a vacant building made into a buzzing club. From architecture and planning to design and art collections, it involves the hard work of multiple teams. And, of course, there are always loose wires and plaster, paint and upturned floors – and site visits that require hard hats.
The tradition of hosting Hard Hat Dinners for Houses that are about to open is meant to celebrate this process, while allowing the Founder members and the city’s creative community to come together and get a sneak peek into the future of the club.
Earlier this month, we hosted a Hard Hat pre-opening dinner to mark the arrival of Soho House Stockholm before the building work is completely finished.
Hard Hat gatherings are as old as the first Soho House at 40 Greek Street, which opened in 1994 above Nick Jones’s restaurant Cafe Boheme. ‘The first House at 40 Greek Street was accidental. Paul Raymond, my landlord, phoned and asked if I would take the floors above Cafe Boheme. Soho was full of creatives then and I just wanted people to go in, have fun, and meet each other,’ Jones remembers. ‘My regulars at Cafe Boheme helped me create the first committee and we did a hard hat tour in June 1994, with cocktails in cement mixers. People liked it, and we opened Soho House in January 1995 with 500 members.’
In the photos from that original Hard Hat celebration, we can see the Soho House team sporting the actual white hard hats. The name caught on, but these days actual hard hats are no longer required. In June, the Soho House Copenhagen Committee gathered for a preview dinner served by Cecconi’s, with an obligatory round of Picantes and music from local DJs. With Houses opening all over the world, our Hard Hat Dinners are yet another opportunity to make sure that the clubs are created with the local creative community not only in mind but at the centre of it, while making space for Committee members who represent its diverse talent.
In the lead up to our new openings in Bangkok and Mexico City next year, we look back at the highlights from Hard Hat Dinners of the past.