There’s no denying that members-only clubs in NYC are having a moment. While the rise began pre-pandemic, it has only been bolstered by the shift in how New Yorkers socialize, as members-only clubs provide the opportunity to consort in controlled environments, where members can enjoy curated experiences and indulge in a sense of community.
Clubs like Casa Cipriani, Zero Bond and Core Club have already proven that New Yorkers are more than willing to invest in the space, and The Ned NoMad represents the latest evolution of New York’s members-only club scene thanks to its hybrid hotel model and splashy celebrity clientele, courtesy of Richie Akiva, New York native and creative director and curator of The Ned NoMad.
Brought to life by Membership Collective Group, the force behind Soho House, The Ned London has long been home to London’s ultra-exclusive nightlife scene. The Ned NoMad is the brand’s first international outpost and comes packed with plenty of spaces for members to work and play. “It’s been a conversation that my good friend Ron Burkle and I have been having for a long time,” shares Akiva of The Ned NoMad. “Seeing it come to life after so many years is special.” As curator, Akiva has a hand in anything and everything client-facing at The Ned NoMad, meaning that the hotel and club’s timeless yet modern ambiance can be traced back to him. “The Ned NoMad is inspired by 1920s glamor. I want it to be able to stand the test of time while also feeling like a modern-day experience,” Akiva shares.
Located in the Johnston building, former home to the NoMad Hotel, The Ned boasts 167 guest rooms, two restaurants and four bars. A number of the ground floor spaces, such as Cecconi’s restaurant and Little Ned, are open to the public and hotel guests, while a majority of the spaces are accessible only to members of Ned’s Club. Akiva’s handiwork appeals to all of the senses, as each of The Ned’s spaces are carefully coordinated to feel secluded yet cohesive. “I focus on the details,” Akiva says. “I wanted the spaces to be separate but like a journey, where you can spend an entire night and never get bored.”
As is true of all members-only clubs, Ned’s Club is discerning when it comes to membership. While Soho House tends to skew a bit younger in its membership, Ned’s Club attracts a more established crowd, making it a CEO’s playground. “This is where both my generation and the younger crowd can go to have dinner, then have a few drinks and head to the Atrium or Magic Room to party a little bit,” says Akiva. “I wanted to capture all of that in one space so you don’t have to leave.” The Ned London members have access to all The Ned NoMad spaces, and vice versa, making membership especially advantageous to those who often travel between the two outposts.
Originally built in 1903 as a store and office, the Johnston building’s historic charm and Beaux-Arts style llend themselves well to The Ned, whose fully-immersive environs feel entirely separate from the hustle and bustle of NoMad. All guestrooms are outfitted in luxurious 1920s design, complete with vintage pieces, hand-knotted rugs, bespoke light fixtures and more. Dividing screens upholstered in damask fabric and free-standing clawfoot tubs contribute to the antique Parisian atmosphere. Offerings from the newly launched Soho skincare line Soho Skin, full-sized Cowshed bath and body products and exactly seven ultra-comfortable pillows on the bed provide all the luxuries one would expect from a Membership Collective Group property. Hotel guests have first dibs on reservations at Cecconi’s as well as access to the first floor of Little Ned, an upscale bar serving club favorites such as caviar, steak tartare, burgers and salads.
The hotel is grounded by Cecconi’s, the first Manhattan outpost for the popular restaurant serving high-end Northern Italian fare. Expect hand-made pasta, wood-oven pizza, seafood and more in a lavishly outfitted space featuring a hand-chipped mosaic and terrazzo striped floor, navy velvet banquets, golden-yellow leather chairs and a polished timber bar. Advanced reservations are available to hotel guests and club members only, with public access limited to walk-ins.
Members have a variety of spaces to choose from when deciding where to spend their time. The Atrium provides an idyllic getaway thanks to its ample sunlight, velvet furnishings and luscious flora and fauna. Every night both well-known names and emerging talent take to the Atrium’s stage, providing live musical entertainment for members. “Think jazz bar meets supper club,” shares Akiva. “You can watch live music, relax, have a meal or get some work done during the day.”
“The hybrid space,” Akiva says of the Magic Room. “It encompasses all in a more lively environment. So far, we’ve had Miguel, Robin Thicke and Diplo perform there.” The Magic Room’s design is reminiscent of a 1930s Art Deco cabaret club, with comfortable seating, a stage and a glossy painted ceiling setting the tone for The Ned’s most exclusive events. A variety of programming takes place, ranging from sound baths to musical performances.
The members’ restaurant is aptly named Ned’s Dining Room and features a menu of raw/tartare selections as well as flambé and signature dishes from the grill. The nearby Little Ned serves as a microcosm of the entire club, allowing the public a peek behind the curtain. “I want Little Ned to be where you go for amazing cocktails and incredible yet approachable food,” explains Akiva. “I want people to leave thinking they’ve just eaten one of the best burgers of their life. For people who aren’t members, there’s no better place to capture what The Ned is.”
Ned’s Club Upstairs also features a food menu comprised of delicious small plates and desserts. The rooftop and terrace ground The Ned in New York, as the unfettered view of the Empire State Building can give even the most seasoned of New Yorkers butterflies. “You feel like you could almost be in 'The Great Gatsby,'” says Akiva. “It’s just old-school, classic New York.” Finally, a club-member favorite, the Library. Akiva says, “I think the Library will become members’ preferred spot to hold meetings in the city. It provides peace and quiet away from the activity throughout the rest of the club.” Indeed, the space is a workspace by day and a cozy bar by night, as laptops must be closed at 5 PM.
Whether in search of networking, socializing, learning or relaxing, members need make no compromises during their time at The Ned, but the team is just getting started. Akiva says, “we thought of everything. The way everything looks, feels, smells. I’m currently creating a fragrance for The Ned so members will associate a scent with the club.” There’s even more to come, as Membership Collective Group has also acquired the former New York Stock Exchange building, which will become the New York Financial District clubhouse. The 190,000-square-foot building will be equipped with amenities such as a pool, gym, wellness facilities and more, making it an excellent option for members wanting a more remote escape from the bustle of Midtown. “This is just an appetizer,” says Akiva. “The Financial District location will be everything but bigger, including rooftops, spas, fitness centers and more. I love to surprise people, and we have a ton in store for what's to come.”
Photography by: courtesy of The Ned NoMad