Ludlow House, 139 Ludlow St.
Three years after announcing its expansion on the Lower East Side, Soho House is almost ready to open a new outpost at 139 Ludlow St.
Ludlow House, the latest branch of the private members’ club, is aiming for a May debut in a former funeral home and manufacturing building. Renovations have been ongoing for many months. In the past couple of days, a job posting went up on Craigslist. “Open interviews” will be held at Soho House’s Meatpacking District headquarters tomorrow and Wednesday for positions in Ludlow’s House’s food service operation.
Oftentimes, new businesses coming to the neighborhood work through the Lower East Side Employment Network to hire locally. Back in 2013, Community Board 3 chose to reject Soho House’s liquor permit application (it got the permit through the State Liquor Authority anyway). As a result, there was no agreement for local hiring. (SEE AN UPDATE REGARDING THIS POINT BELOW). At the same time, we understand, a commitment to create an outpost of the Educational Alliance’s art school, did come to fruition. It will be located in the basement of the Ludlow Street building.
There’s now a website for Ludlow House, complete with information about the various gathering spaces and membership details.
Here’s a rendering of the “Living Room,” described as a “comfortable space for meeting and working with a breakfast bar.”
“Lou’s Kitchen & Bar,” a “club bar with an open kitchen and all-day American-Italian menu.”
The “Velvet Room & Dark Room,” which is a space for members’ events and a screening room.
And “Ducked Up.” a “covered rooftop garden with a vegetarian Asian restaurant” which will also be “serving crispy duck.”
Ludlow House will be Soho House’s 16th location. The club, which started in London, is in major expansion mode. The Hollywood Reporter had the scoop on its California plans this past Friday.
UPDATE 3/9 It turns out that Soho House did, in fact, reach out to the Lower East Side Employment Network. We’re told a conversation about using the organization to access qualified local job candidates began at the end of February.
The State Liquor Authority voted this afternoon to approve a liquor permit for Soho House’s new location at 139 Ludlow St.
The long wait for a decision from the State Liquor Authority (SLA) regarding Soho House, which hopes to open a new club at 139 Ludlow St., is almost over. The SLA will finally take up the application tomorrow.
Soho House faces an August 8th hearing on its controversial application to open a new club on the Lower East Side.
Soho House files the necessary paperwork for a liquor license at 139 Ludlow St., in spite of Community Board 3’s opposition.
139 Ludlow Street. Photo courtesy: Soho House.
As we reported last night, Community Board 3 decided to oppose Soho House’s liquor license application at 139 Ludlow St, an abandoned commercial building. The lengthy debate was very similar to the discussion that took place during last week’s committee meeting, so we won’t repeat the arguments made by supporters and opponents. But there were a few new details and arguments worth passing along.
The vote was 25-10, with two abstentions (abstentions count as “no” votes, so the official tally was 25-12). Soho House is now preparing to take its case to the State Liquor Authority. Last night, supporters continued to make a case that the club would energize the local arts community, attract new daytime business to a struggling retail area and provide a supportive creative environment for its LES-based members. Detractors, on the other hand, argued that the club would add to Ludlow Street’s nighttime congestion, disturb neighbors and serve as an agent of gentrification on a rapidly changing block.
139 Ludlow Street
This evening, Community Board 3 voted to reject a request from Soho House to support a liquor license at 139 Ludlow St., where the private members’ club hopes to establish an outpost on the Lower East Side. A resolution drafted by the SLA Committee last week opposing the liquor permit was backed by 25 members; 1o voted against the resolution; 2 abstained. Around a dozen community members were absent.
There was lengthy testimony tonight from both supporters and opponents. In the end, some CB3 members voted against Soho House, saying the exclusive club is wrong for the LES. But most of the opposition appeared to come from board members concerned about the over-saturation of nightlife venues in the immediate area. They were especially hesitant about a proposed roof deck, which would be only feet from the windows of some neighboring apartments.
Soho House now faces a hearing before the State Liquor Authority, which has the power to approve or reject the license. We’ll have a more detailed report tomorrow.
Soho House attorney Donald Bernstein (dress shirt, tie) stands alongside CEO Nick Jones and Pierre Dourneau, who’s overseeing the LES project.
Here’s our full wrap-up from Monday night’s contentious Community Board 3 hearing concerning a liquor license for Soho House, which hopes to open a new private members’ club at 139 Ludlow St. As previously reported, the committee decided to oppose the application before the State Liquor Authority, following a two hour debate.
Donald Bernstein, Soho House’s attorney, reviewed the plan for the new facility within a former funeral home just above Rivington Street. The building would have a capacity of 400, including a roof deck and bars on three levels. The new location, he said, would serve around 90 existing Soho House members in the neighborhood, as well as new members on the East Side. He argued that the business had been a “good operator” in the Meatpacking District, currently the club’s only Manhattan location.
139 Ludlow Street. Image supplied by Soho House.
Tonight’s the night Soho House presents its plan for expansion on the Lower east Side before Community Board 3’s SLA Committee. The proposal was first floated in February. The private members’ club postponed the application for a full liquor permit at 139 Ludlow Street twice in recent months. There were numerous open houses inside the former funeral home and an offer to create a community space in the basement.
In the past several days, a high profile Soho House supporter, LES documentarian Clayton Patterson, softened his endorsement of the club somewhat. In his column in the Villager, Patterson wrote that Soho House is the “lesser of what could be so much worse.” By this, he means that the building could become a boisterous night club or restaurant masquerading as night club, like so many other Lower East Side nightlife venues.
Soho House provided several images of 139 Ludlow in its CB3 application.
A few new developments today regarding Soho House’s controversial bid for a liquor license at 139 Ludlow St., where the private members’ club plans to open a Lower East Side branch. Last night, representatives from the club met for about two hours with local residents, including members of the LES Dwellers group, a neighborhood association with strong reservations about the proposal. More on that in a moment. The liquor permit application is now available on Community Board 3’s web site. It will be considered May 20, when CB3’s SLA Committee meets.
139 Ludlow Street, the possible future home of Soho House on the Lower East Side.
Next month – May 20th to be exact – Soho House will finally go before Community Board 3’s SLA Committee, asking it to support a full bar within 139 Ludlow St., the former funeral home destined to be the private members’ club’s new location on the Lower East Side. Having withdrawn from the agenda on two previous occasions, Soho House settled on a plan to establish a publicly accessible community space in the building. Over the weekend, we heard from club representatives, who are hoping to engage people from the neighborhood this coming Wednesday evening about potential uses for that public area.
Soho House has held a series of informal open houses inside 139 Ludlow, but Wednesday’s session will be a bit more specific, focused on the things people would like to see in a public facility (a library, an arts space, a venue for talks and performances are ideas that have been floated). The open house begins at 7:30 p.m., if you’re interested in attending.