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The debut of the Denver chapter of the Supper Club could not have come at a better time. After nearly two years of eating takeout on our couches, some of us are clamoring to don our finest; gather around a fabulously set table; and toast the return of in-person restaurant dining. As we rush to make reservations, we’re remembering just how much work goes into having our pulse on the hottest openings, not to mention scoring tables. And that long hiatus from socializing has left our dining etiquette, well, a little rusty.
“Post-Covid, we’re re-teaching people the art of socializing,” says Tamsin Lonsdale, the British founder of the global members-only dining club. With past chapter events of late, her team has sent out cards queuing members on table manners, the art of holding a live conversation, and what to wear to a dinner party.
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When Lonsdale first launched Supper Club in London in 2005, her goal was to curate the most interesting mix of dinner guests—artists, designers, musicians, tech gurus—and give them exclusive access to some of the city’s buzziest restaurants. “We were a one-stop shop for your social life,” she says. “People are time poor. Our members don’t need to go out every night. We make it so the night they do go out they know they are with the coolest people at the coolest place.”
Like any member’s club, part of the appeal is the exclusivity. Existing members nominate friends and regional ambassadors share their black books of interesting locals to consider for invites. Once nominated, potential members must fill out applications sharing everything from the last three places they’ve traveled to their favorite quote and the person they’d most like to dine with, dead or alive. Lonsdale says the strict selection process guarantees a diverse mix of like-minded people.
The club crossed the pond to New York in 2007—and with the recent launch in Denver, now has six chapters total, including Los Angeles, Miami, Austin, and San Francisco, with 1,000-plus members. Chapters in Nashville and Dallas are slated for next year. The price for a seat at the table doesn’t come cheap. In addition to a one-time initiation fee of $500, annual dues range from $1,500 for access to four in-person events a year to $10,000 for VIP access to unlimited events, trips, pre-launch events in new cities, and secret suppers. The cost hasn’t deterred members. Lonsdale increased dues last July and says it was the Club’s best-selling membership month. “I think the pandemic has put a premium on social interactions,” she says. “People don’t just want to mix and mingle at a new restaurant; they want meaningful socializing.”
Sam Syed, the Denver-based, co-founder of Capsll, an app that acts as a digital time capsule of memories to be shared generationally, was first introduced to Supper Club in late March when a friend with a membership in Austin brought him to a dinner as a guest. “I found it such a fun way to check out the newest eating places around the city and spark new friendships,” he says. Syed, 34, had lived in London, Dubai, and Manhattan before moving to Colorado in 2020. As soon as he learned about the Denver chapter, he applied and invested in a VIP membership. “I travel to Austin and New York quite a bit for work,” he says. “There are plenty of members’ clubs, but this one guarantees a good vibe, good food, good service, and a mix of people not just from your city, but your state and even the world.”
A self-described food snob, Syed says Supper Club’s decision to launch in Denver over lauded food cities such as Portland, Oregon or Boston, speaks to the vibrancy of dining scene as well as its reputation as the Silicon Valley of the mountains. For years Denver has felt more rugged than refined, but the Supper Club is proof that there’s a yearning for a bit more polish. “The Supper Club’s arrival in Denver is something for lovers of fashion, community, and food to celebrate,” says founding Denver member Claire McManus, the 35-year-old, senior vice president of experiences at Gravity Haus, a hotel and membership club with locations in Denver, Winter Park, and Vail. “I think people are dying to dig out their dresses and suits from the depths of their closets.”
To help lapsed table manners, members must abide by club rules, including no cell phones at the dinner table, mandatory cocktail attire, no uninvited dinner guests, and absolutely no swapping place cards (much thought goes into seating arrangements). The Denver chapter will host one to two events per month, including a signature dinner at an acclaimed local restaurant, new hot spot, or alfresco venue, such as Altius Farms, the setting for a June summer solstice dinner with Uchi. Members will also receive invites to Sunday brunches, themed parties, ski weekends in Aspen, and culinary trips to destinations like Oaxaca and Croatia. “Meeting people can be exhausting,” says Syed. “As a newcomer to Colorado, I can’t think of a more enjoyable way to meet the city’s movers and shakers.”