The Maze of Licensing Private Members Clubs

In recent years there has been a surge of private members clubs wanting to open in New York City, many born in London where there are hundreds of clubs. Bernstein Redo, P.C. client Soho House, which opened on Ninth Avenue in 2003, set the bar, and now everyone wants in. We have particular expertise in this, and have counseled many members clubs including Ludlow House, Dumbo House, Neuehouse, The Wing, Zero Bond, 5 Hertford Street, Groucho Club, Norwood, Classic Car Club, and others in navigating the uncommon license laws of New York. New York law dictates who can apply for a members club liquor license, where such clubs may be located, and imposes strict rules regarding who the members club may allow in and that also control how it may operate. These differ significantly from the laws that govern hotels, restaurants and bars that are open to the general public. When faced with the maze of rules on members clubs that can seem daunting, we are constantly asked, “how does Soho House do it?” We know, because we did it.