Soho House, a luxury, members-only club offering amenities like private pools, restaurants, and spas with locations worldwide is coming to Charleston in 2024, the company confirmed on Wednesday, June 14.
It will take over 161 East Bay Street in downtown Charleston, a space formerly home to craft beer brewery Lagunitas. That three-story corner building in the French Quarter, the Wagener Building, has sat empty since the brewery closed for good in 2018 after months of struggling with costly renovations.
Soho House Charleston’s newly-launched website says it will transform the historic building into a ground-floor restaurant open to the public, with two floors of members-only space to include a rooftop bar and dining area with “uninterrupted views” of the city. It invites potential members to sign up to “register your interest,” since the club, which costs thousands of dollars annually, only accepts members via a thorough application process.
Soho House was founded in London in 1995, when restaurateur Nick Jones opened the private club above his restaurant, Café Boheme, in Soho. Jones differentiated it from other members-only clubs by focusing on creative types for its membership base, “especially young people working in film and media,” Eater’s Monica Burton reported in 2017. Eight years after Soho House opened in London it arrived in New York, followed by Los Angeles, Toronto, and Barcelona. As of January 2023, Soho House operates 39 locations worldwide, including in Miami, Mumbai, Mykonos, and most recently, Nashville. It was a Nashville-based investor, AJ Capital, that purchased the Wagener Building last year for $8.1 million, according to the Post-Courier, and will lease to Soho House as a tenant. The company recently announced it will open a Soho House in Mexico City and in Portland, Oregon, by the end of this year.
Soho House is known for design, with each club meant to be a reflection of its city. Soho House Charleston promises to draw inspiration from the city’s “rich history, Southern charm, and creative spirit to create a vibrant coastal locale” while “honoring” the building’s details and history. Applications to join Soho House Charleston are not yet open, but interested parties should be prepared to provide a recent headshot, nominations from current Soho House members, an application fee, and details about their career. In the meantime, the company invites Charlestonians to apply for a Cities Without Houses membership, which gives access to local Soho House events and to Soho House locations worldwide.