Nick Jones founded Soho House in London 1995 and now has members' clubs and restaurants in New York, Berlin, Los Angeles and Miami. In between jetting between the Houses, and scouting new spots in South America, his current destination obsession, he's finding time to judge our Curator Contest. We tapped him for his travel tips.
You fly across the Atlantic constantly -- any tips for surviving a red-eye? Elasticated pants, a couple of glasses of red and an Ambien.
Carry on or check in? I never, ever check luggage because it either gets lost or takes too long to emerge, and I pack light -- I find a t-shirt and a jumper covers all eventualities.
How would you describe the Soho House look? Comfortable and unpretentious. We respect the building and the city we're in, and we throw in a bit of British -- we have leather armchairs in Miami, for example.
You have Houses in London, Berlin, Miami, New York and LA -- what are your favorite restaurants in each? In London the River Café -- the food, the style, eating lunch on the terrace: it's fanastic. All the food is delicious -- they even make fish taste good (I need to be near water to eat fish).
In Berlin I love whatever club and restaurant owner Cookie does -- he gets the vibe just right. Annoyingly his restaurant, Cookies Cream, is vegetarian -- I've recommended he puts steak on the menu.
In Miami I like an Aegean tavern called Mandolin. The husband is Greek, the wife is Turkish, and the meatballs are to die for -- they're like mini hamburgers.
In New York my favorite is Minetta Tavern. Keith NcNally who, full disclosure, is a mate of mine, always gets it right -- the drinks, the atmosphere, he's clever. I order the steak. In LA, Mozza -- it was the first pizza place I went that wasn't mid-market. It made me think, why doesn't London do this? Which is why I opened Pizza East.
You're intimately involved with the details of each House -- what's the best idea you've had? A friend of mine in England introduced me to the concept of "one while changing" -- a cocktail while you're getting ready to go out and we've brought it to Soho Beach House. A barman comes to your room and mixes you a cocktail between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. We've now introduced a quick blow and a polish in your bedroom -- a blow dry and a manicure (what did you think I meant?)
Where's next for Soho House Group? South America. I want to go mad out there -- Brazil, Colombia, I'm looking for potential Soho House spots everywhere. The vibe out there is infectious.
Do you have any hotel bête noirs? I find a lot of hotels really boring -- I've been staying in Toronto and Chicago a lot recently because we're opening houses there, and the hotels are very corporate. The other thing I hate is inflexibility. I hate not being able to get fried eggs after 9 a.m., for example. There's obviously a frying pan and an egg in the kitchen...
You've donated three nights at Soho Beach House to the Pinterest competition -- what would you do with three days' vacation there? I have to say, leaving the Beach House is tricky and regrettable -- unless you're going to Mandolin, of course. The beach is great, it's quieter than the main South Beach drag 20 or so blocks to the south, and the evenings are fun -- as well as One While Changing, make sure you have an Old Fashioned in the Club Bar.
Shoreditch House is just a few miles from the Olympic stadium -- will you be going to the Games? Yes, you can see the stadium from the roof of Shoreditch House. I'm a very pro-Olympics chap, and I think Britain's going to go mad for those two weeks. I'm going to get as many tickets as I can for the main stadium and a few other events -- I hear beach volleyball's quite fun. We're running our version of the Olympics at Shoreditch House with a competition every night there's going to be ping-pong and swimming.
Finally, what will you be looking for when you judge the Pinterest Curator Contest boards? I've only just learned to take photos myself -- I pressed my iPhone camera button accidentally, but I have strong opinions on other people's photos. Pinterest is very girly at the moment -- it seems to be all about clothes -- so I'll be looking for something a bit different when I judge the Curator Contest boards. I'm very into food -- particularly things I've never seen before. I also like strong design ... and beaches.
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