The businessperson’s social club is not dead. The modern iteration is one that tries to promote creativity and networking, all rolled into one classy happy hour.
“Minneapolis was ready for a modern version of the [urban] club, one that’s casual and unpretentious,” says Zach Sussman, co-founder of Brick x Mortar. Sussman and partners opened their social club/shared workspace hybrid in 2017.
Brick x Mortar isn’t where you go to plug in your laptop and hammer away before a deadline—it’s designed for a curated networking experience. “Instead of the shotgun approach of going to a bar and hoping you meet like-minded people,” Sussman says, “this is a guaranteed experience.”
Others are following suit. Fueled Collective, the Minneapolis–based co-working company, recently launched its own social club. Don Ball, Fueled’s chief social officer, decided to take the plunge for two reasons.
One: There was already a strong focus on the social aspect of the workspace. “Desks and Wi-Fi were never the exciting part,” Ball says. “It was meeting other people.” Two: Leadership at Fueled started considering its biggest expense—rent. “We were only monetizing the space from 8 to 5,” Ball says. “What if we use [it] at night?”
The transition begins with bringing a bar to the company’s downtown Minneapolis space— two nights a week at first with a plan to add more nights going forward.
Brick x Mortar offers programming such as yoga on the rooftop, movie nights, political dialogues, and fashion events. Fueled plans to sponsor whiskey and wine tastings, a writer’s club, and more.
Membership at Brick x Mortar is by invitation only, but you can reach out directly and make a case for why you’d be a good fit. At Fueled, social club membership is $75 a month and includes two daytime passes. —Ellen Schneider