Soho House has become synonymous with celebrity spottings and chic soirées. But as a members-only club, the dozen-plus global "houses" can be impossible to get into. Except in Chicago, the only location in America where anyone can gain access to the cheeky Cowshed Spa and the ground-floor amenities like the rendezvous spot Allis (a nod to the 1907 West Loop building's original name), Chicken & Farm Shop, and Pizza East. We asked General Manager Thomas Lennard what to do and see in the Windy City this summer—when you're not holed up in one of his club's 40 guest rooms (which give you access to everything) or cooling off in the rooftop pool, that is.
Lollapalooza and Pitchfork Festivals
"Festivals are the benchmark of summer in Chicago. Both Pitchfork and Lollapalooza have been here for over ten years now, something Chicagoans are incredibly proud of. They are also set in amazing locations so you have the chance to see Chicago from different points of view."
Green City Market
"Green City Market has grown from nine farmers with stands in the crosswalk next to Chicago Theatre in 1998, to the city’s biggest farmers market. On Saturday mornings, I enjoy getting up early, riding my Brompton along the lake, and then I head through the park to get fresh tomatoes. Soho House Chicago is now partnering with Green City Market to do a pop-up market behind the House once a month from June through October."
Activities on the Waterfront
"The Lakefront path is a great way to scan all that the city has to offer. I like taking my bike and hopping on the path just south of Navy Pier to ride North to the beaches. You’ll see locals running, playing beach volleyball, or paddle boarding along the way. You can rent paddle boards at North Avenue beach too, which is a great vantage point to admire how the city’s architecture collides with nature."
Chicago Murals and Art Scene
"I’m inspired by the street artists in Chicago—especially since the aerosol spray paint can was invented right here! The Pilsen neighborhood has long been known for its murals, but street art has been popping up all over the city. If you find yourself walking around the city, there’s a good chance you’ll run into Hebru Brantley, JC Rivera, and Don’t Fret’s work. We recently partnered with T-shirt company, Threadless, to curate a roster of artists to transform the exterior cornerstones of the House with an original art display. The artists rotate each month, and it’s always fun to see what they come up with."
Tacos at Big Star
"Tacos at Big Star on the patio are a must! It was originally a 1940's gas station, turned neighborhood staple. It’s one of those spots where your table multiples exponentially with old and new friends. Bartenders double as DJ’s and spin records by the likes of Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan, and the menu is straightforward with little surprises along the way."