Since its inaugural “members-only” dinner on Sept. 19 at Indochine, The Supper Club, a purportedly exclusive social service founded by British entrepreneur Tamsin Lonsdale, has hosted over a dozen events at popular nightspots around town. But some are carping that the club—whose 17 ambassadors include the likes of socialites Peter Davis, Euan Rellie and Lucy Sykes, and which purports to provide access to places New Yorkers can’t normally go—is not everything it’s cracked up to be.
“Tamsin’s current members are far more connected than she can dream of being,” said a Supper Club member. “She’s wholly relying on them for introductions and using their names and status to build a club that will eventually cater only to the bridge-and-tunnel set.”
One of the club’s ambassadors agreed. “All these people are jumping on board, but I think it’s slowly backfiring,” he said. “She’s not offering a service to the boldface names. She’s using these people to bring in the mass; that’s how she’s going to make her money.”
The ambassador recalled one member griping that she had spent $100 to have a dinner at the Spotted Pig, a meal that she normally pays $40 for, and that she had met no new people there. (The Supper Club charges $750 to join, along with the fees for its events.)
At The Supper Club’s holiday party at the new office space-cum-party venue Stark on Gramercy, Ms. Lonsdale’s confidence was still running high. “I feel that New Yorkers accepted us with open arms, and they’ve been nothing but positive,” she said. “We have great turnouts, and it’s a really cool kind of people.”
Ms. Lonsdale boasted that something exciting always happens at her get-togethers. Take that night at the Spotted Pig. “We were having a very civilized dinner, and suddenly, uh, the music got cranked up, and there were 50 movers and shakers on the dance floor, and Jay-Z and Beyoncé were hanging out with us.”
There was also the time at the Paris Commune when only 15 of Ms. Lonsdale’s expected 30 guests turned up. The restaurant agreed to accommodate the smaller party but asked that she pay a higher tip to make up for the space and staff they set aside for her. According to the ambassador, she at first refused to fork up the higher amount, then tried to pay it by check. (A spokesman for Supper Club said that this was because corporate credit cards hadn’t arrived yet, and that she paid the standard 20 percent.)
Ms. Lonsdale originated the Supper Club in London; that outfit has 1,000 members. So far the New York faction has 300 members, with 70 people waiting to join. “I’m vetting them,” she said of the aspirants. “I don’t want to grow too big.” (Though, she added, “A thousand is my goal for this time next year.”)
In the immediate future, Ms. Lonsdale is planning a trip to Art Basel. “We’re having a dinner Dec. 5 at the Raleigh,” she chirped. “I’m hosting it with Martin Kredid, who’s going out with Alan [Rudolph], who’s the CEO of, um, Ocean Drive.”
“Why is she hosting a dinner in Miami?” wondered the anonymous ambassador.
“It’s my party … everybody’s in,” Ms. Lonsdale said, adding somewhat contradictorily: “I’m looking for unique people. I don’t want people who fit into the box.”