The Society: A Culture Club for the Creative Class

A sultry blonde in a slinky black dress propositions me. The penthouse at the Gild Hall in Manhattan’s financial district is teeming with young, symmetrical men and women who have gathered for The New York Society’s “Town & Country” party, but for some reason, this one singles me out. For a Canadian, the idea of meeting a mysterious Manhattanite in a boutique hotel-cum-house party, dashing away from the festivities, and finding a secret alcove for Marlboro smoking is about as exotic as it gets. The cigarettes will eventually lead to exposed skin, an exchange of cards, and a blurry train ride home. Unfortunately, all she wants is the cigarette. I unwittingly oblige, and find comfort in the dirtiest martinis this side of the East River.

These sexually charged chance encounters are just one of the many promises made by the ladies of The Society. A self described “virtual culture club for the creative class,” their mandate is to make this overwhelmingly vast city just a little bit smaller by throwing cultural events that enlighten and nocturnal social events that intoxicate. Co-founders Ashleigh Dempster, Amanda Blakely (who also run the flagship club in Toronto), and New York’s Executive Director Annie Evans rely on impeccably forward tastes that provide over 700 members with decadent nights out at some of Manhattan’s most sought-after joints. In just two weeks of knowing these Miu Miu-sporting hedonists, I’ve inhaled steak tacos and hibiscus rose margaritas at La Esquina, guzzled cilantro-infused gin at clandestine cocktail bar Apothéke, and partaken in a lot of bumping with minor dashes of grinding at Gild Hall. Designed by the famed Jim Walrod, this modern rustic hotel with an English taverny-resto by Todd English is perhaps the perfect venue for a Society party. While unabashedly embracing the classic harbingers of merriment — food, friends, and booze — the hotel maintains a strict level of sophistication … an absolute embodiment of The Society’s ideals. The Society in turn does a great job at meeting my ideals: getting drunk with pretties.

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