How Soho House and More Private Clubs Are Reopening Amid Pandemic

Stewart and Connie Photography
The new Soho Works in West Hollywood, opening July 6 at 9000 Sunset Blvd.

Social spaces around Los Angeles are coming back (for now), but with changes including digital menus and mask policies. Soho Works is preparing to launch its new concept, which offers dedicated workspaces, on July 6.

As COVID-19 rates rise and L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti puts a pause on some reopenings (like movie theaters), a number of L.A. social clubs have welcomed members back (with mask and social distancing requirements in place), including the 2-year-old Metaphor Club, which resumed service June 15.

Founders Lawrence Gilliam, Gerald Rawles, Lawrence Ross and Jimar Wilson, who are Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity brothers, chose its Crenshaw Boulevard building for its location in the Leimert Park Pan African Arts District. With $99-a-month memberships, the club has become a creative hub with readings and screenings. Its Hollywood contingent includes story editor Sa'Rah Jones (Netflix's Family Reunion); Kemp Powers, writer and co-director of the upcoming Disney movie Soul; and writer Jeanine Daniels (FX's Snowfall, Apple's Truth Be Told). "It's a place of connectivity, community and much-needed fellowship," Daniels says. The club has changed seating to comply with social distancing, requires masks and has a hand-sanitizing station, among other precautions.

While The Wing and NeueHouse have not reopened, Soho House has opened doors at all three L.A. locations (though bars are not available for service), as has San Vicente Bungalows. Both have switched to contactless digital menus. After Gov. Gavin Newsom's July 1 announcement forcing most indoor spaces to close before the holiday weekend, Soho House will only offer outdoor seating at its West Coast Houses as well as Cecconi's, but remain open daily. They have instituted stricter sanitation guidelines and temperature checks upon arrival. Soho House also is bowing its first L.A. location of Soho Works — a new concept that offers dedicated workspaces — on July 6 near Soho House West Hollywood.

But the club perhaps best poised to function in a pandemic is Second Home, whose Hollywood campus is low-rise (no elevators) and mostly open-air. The club features hospital-grade air filters and 65 pod-like offices in its garden. Members currently may not bring guests. Says co-founder Rohan Silva, "We had no idea that [the pandemic] was coming, but we did genuinely think that breathing in clean air and being around plants and trees is better for you."

A version of this story first appeared in the July 1 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe