Take a Peek Inside The Ned, New York’s Latest Members-Only Club
As exclusive social spaces are revived, we take a look at the buzziest among them
There’s an air of secrecy walking up to The Ned, its darkened windows visible from the sidewalk on West 28th Street. But the members-only club is far from a secret anymore. Officially opened in June of this year, The Ned has seemingly become the talk of the town, as it represents a larger trend towards new members-only spaces that are emerging in NYC. It also doesn’t hurt that Drake threw a party there last month, attended by celebs like Kevin Durant and Kristen Stewart, and that the venue has hosted parties for the likes of Vogue and Dior.
The Ned first opened in London in 2017, helmed by the team behind Soho House. Taking over the former headquarters of the historic Midland Bank, membership quickly skyrocketed after its opening. “The intention was to have only one property,” The Ned Managing Director Gareth Banner told InsideHook via email. “However, within six weeks of opening The Ned in London, the response from guests had been so incredible that [Soho House chairman and investor] Ron Burkle spoke about opening a New York City outpost.”
Like its sister location in London, The Ned’s New York edition occupies a similarly impressive space, the Johnston Building. Built in 1903, the Beaux Arts-style building previously housed The NoMad Hotel, which closed in 2021. The Ned’s renovated home is similarly impressive, pairing elements of the building’s traditional structure — think marble staircases and ornate fireplaces — with Art-Deco-inspired touches like fringe and plush velvet furniture. The elegant bar remains, and the entire space is reminiscent of a New York men’s club from 1963: One could expect to find Don Draper and Roger Sterling in the midst of a three-martini lunch around every corner.
Membership, which costs $5,000 per year with a joining fee of $1,500 (though present Soho House members can join for $2,500 per year and new members younger than 30 can join for $4,000 per year with a $350 joining fee), allows access to members-only spaces across 10 floors. “Our Soho House membership base skews a bit younger than our Ned membership base and tends to comprise members from creative industries, whereas The Ned members skew a bit more professional, many coming from a financial background,” Banner says.
Member-only spaces at The Ned include Ned’s Club Downstairs, set under a gorgeous glass atrium; the Ned’s Club Dining Room, which serves classics like steak tartare, crab cakes, Chicken Kiev and a porterhouse for two; The Ned’s Club Bar; Magic Room live events venue, which has played host to artists like Miguel and Diplo; and Ned’s Club Upstairs, a Mediterranean-inspired restaurant with views of New York City, dotted by the building’s own marvelous architectural intricacies. Anyone can stay at the 167-room hotel, rooms of which start at about $875 per night (though a quick search on Expedia reveals a January stay could be yours for about half price).
Banner defines The Ned as “an inclusive members club,” which is interesting language considering the price tag, but it’s possibly a bid to show that members aren’t all straight white men as social clubs in the past may have been typed. Banner says members run the social and professional gamut, many of which work in the business and creative worlds. To apply, interested parties can fill out their application online — it takes about 15 minutes, Banner says — and it’s great if two existing members can refer you. Since it opened in June, The Ned has welcomed more than 700 members.
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And while the idea of the social club is nothing new — spaces like this have been present in high society circles for hundreds of years, and membership has always been exclusive no matter how progressive culture has become — The Ned, and others like Casa Cipriani and Zero Bond, have only added to the mystique. It is also passible that a post-pandemic world has created a desire for exclusivity and curated social spaces that go above and beyond the work of a bouncer.
“The ethos of The Ned is to create a space for like-minded professionals to meet, work and have a good time,” says Banner. This is something The Ned’s curator and creative director Richie Akiva knows well, especially after decades of creation in spaces like 1OAK and Up&Down, frequented by those flush with all manner of assets, from fame and wealth to beauty and connections. So if The Ned is his next step, exclusivity is the name of the game. And the NoMad location is by no means the last addition to The Ned’s arrival in New York. The Ned Exchange will open in Manhattan’s Financial District in 2024, located in the former American Stock Exchange building. It won’t include a hotel but it will offer wellness, performance, and dining and drinking spaces.
“The response thus far has been absolutely incredible,” Banner says. “New York City tourism is roaring back, and we are delighted to be a part of the city’s comeback, offering our members and guests alike a luxurious space to sleep, dine, socialize and enjoy performances from emerging local artists and time-honored talent.”
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