Published on November 21, 2012 | by Elspeth Merry

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Try a bit of Soho high society

Looking into The Society Club through its double doors

Experience intelligent conversation, poetry and a bar in Soho [Helen Hasse]

Bringing bohemian to Soho, The Society Club sits snuggled in the corner of Silver Place and Ingestre Place, offering anyone with a spare afternoon or evening the opportunity to be fully immersed in the joys of reading.

The twee space is taken up by a giant wooden park bench style table, positioned right in the centre — already giving you the idea that this is a communal experience, encouraging writers and artists alike to become embroiled in discussions.

The walls are adorned with book shelves, allowing you to rummage through old classics and contemporary novels, as well as a collection of rare signed limited editions.  The Great Gatsby, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, The Andy Warhol Diaries, and books by Jack Kerouac all catch my eye and you suddenly realise you could spend hour upon hour here, absorbed in great works of literature.

If you want something to sip you can enjoy a relaxed cup of tea, or if you feel like a real beatnik maverick, sip on a Gin and Tonic from a crystal glass.

Although this will set you back £7 — extortionate for the humble student, but you are paying for the experience  to feel like an avant-garde hipster, sharing the ecstasy of reading with harmonious others in a cozy setting that feels like your rich aunt’s sitting room. Mini dogs are allowed to roam free, and the bar takes on a makeshift persona; as if you are asking a friend for a drink, minus the price tag.

But you don’t just have to come to The Society Club and be completely self-indulged in reading; it hosts a number of intimate author talks, with regular exhibitions and a gallery space. On the night I went a poetry talk from Rack Press took place an independent poetry publisher, which draws in an old artsy, eccentric crowd. Poet and publisher Nicholas Murray comments that they are running a “little renaissance in the corner of Soho”, which sparks everyone to give each other a smug knowing glance; they are all part of this “society”.

The evening has enchanting poetry readings from Martina Evans, Denise Saul and Róisín Tierney— all published by Rack Press. You can’t help but be caught up in the magnetic ambience of it all, regardless of the street noises and disturbances from people arriving late. The evening is a success and the audience lull over the poetry, engaging in deep conversation afterwards. This “books and booze” alliance is truly an extraordinary triumph. The Society Club by name and nature really makes you feel like you are part of a small movement.

For more information on upcoming events visit: http://thesocietyclubsoho.wordpress.com/ or call 02074371433

Find The Society Club at, 12 Ingestre Pl London, W1F OJF

Opening times: Mon-Fri, 12-11pm, Saturday, 12:30-7pm

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