Is a question I am often asked when I talk about my supper club venture, and rightly so.
According to my research (wikipedia…), supper clubs first appeared in the 1930s in the USA. They popped up in locations which had previously been underground bars during the prohibition period. Once the prohibition ended, these venues became destination restaurants where diners could partake in a whole evening of entertainment, from cocktail hour to post dinner entertainment.
Fast forward to the present, and supper clubs are usually much smaller and less formal affairs. They provide a dining experience which is somewhere between a restaurant and your own front room. Supper clubs can take place in a variety of venues, however they often take part in the chef’s home and are centred around one communal table. Although there’re no showy cabarets these days, supper clubs still aim to provide a whole evening of dining. In a day and age when food is fast, supper clubs aim to recreate a more wholesome approach to dining. There’s no closing time, no turning tables and by the end of the night a group of strangers leave as friends.
In London, supper clubs have been growing in popularity for a number of years. If you’re a fan of Masterchef and follow any of the former contestants on social media, you may have noticed that many of them have run highly successful pop up supper clubs in the capital.
There’s a whole host of similar things happening all over the country and the trend for an alternative to chain restaurants is beginning to take root in Newcastle too. We have so many cool pop ups and food stalls appearing across the city along with lots of wonderful independent restaurants. The Cook House in Ouseburn has been hosting supper clubs for a while now, and Tyneside cinema and The Biscuit Factory also run regular pop ups in their cafes. On a smaller scale, there’s The Wandering Fork in Gateshead and The Little Dining Club in Newcastle, and – of course – there’s me, Dotty in the Kitchen!
My supper clubs are cosy affairs, hosted in my flat in Newcastle. They look a little something like this: