I recently had a chance to experience an evening of food, drinks, and live music that was a refreshing change of pace from the typical heading out for dinner and drinks.
My friend and world-class photographer Kevin Connors is the man behind this new venture so I sat down with him after the event to learn more.
Tell me about your background and how it led to this venture.
I’ve owned Coast Highway Photography for 10 years and have had a Cedros Avenue studio gallery for almost eight years now. Last November, I hosted an evening of jazz, featuring a Solana Beach portrait client of mine. We had converted the space into an intimate jazz venue just for the night, and as I stood there listening to the beautiful music, I literally said to myself “I’ve thrown a lot of events here before, but this is different…” and by the end of that evening had named and conceived of the Cedros Social Club. I quickly developed the idea of a membership-based, private club, borrowing a “speakeasy” model.
The Speakeasy, or Social Club concept has been gaining momentum in recent years. What was your first exposure to it?
Personally, I’ve never attended a speakeasy or social club event. That night in November, I started asking a few of those folks what they thought of the event. One of those in attendance, a famous NFL head coach who I’d gotten to know a bit, told me he loved the event and said he’d like to see more of them. I said I’d love to be able to do that, but the business model used that night was unsustainable as everything was free. He mention that when he was an assistant coach up in San Francisco, he was part of a group of folks that formed a private club and were therefore able to charge for their events. That’s when the idea of the Cedros Social Club came into view.
Food and drinks play a big part in these events and I notice you work with some high-profile caterers, tell me more about the culinary element.
The Cedros Social Club, at its core, is about bringing people together to have a great time, all at a reasonable single price. While the entertainment component is the catalyst, high quality drink and delicious food are the alchemy. Our caterers are only those that I’ve experienced myself and found to be absolutely at the top of their game such as the Wild Thyme Company who catered one of our events.
You also put a lot of thought into the music. The band I saw, Charlie Chavez y su Afrotruko Salsa was amazing and perfect for the environment.
Charlie Chavez is a virtuoso and y su Afrotruko is an amazing collection of some of the best musicians in that art form. The plan is to select our monthly entertainment from this diverse and talented collection of entertainers here in San Diego and Southern California. Next month’s comedy event will feature the funniest guy I know, Mark Christopher Lawrence who has starred in movies, TV shows, and headlines comedy shows around the country. Mark will be headlining a lineup of comedians and one singer/songwriter.
The mix of guests was impressive as well. I met some very interesting, creative folks from all walks of life. Is providing that eclectic mix part one of your objectives?
Absolutely. My photography business has brought me an amazing collection of clients, many of whom who’ve become good friends, with many diverse interests, businesses, outlooks on life, and socioeconomic status. The core of the Cedros Social Club comes from these relationships.
While this has the feel of an exclusive club, it’s actually very inclusive, you welcome everyone correct?
We welcome everyone and anyone, but they must first be invited guests of current members, or me. Those invited guests still need to purchase tickets, and they must become members of the Club to attend any further events. So there is an exclusive element to the Cedros Social Club, but it’s there by design and purpose. If Coast News Readers are interested, they can contact me directly, and I’ll help them through the process.
I will admit that when I learned there was a small membership fee, then $50 per event, I was skeptical. And then I attended an event with some amazing food, great open bar, superb entertainment, and made some great professional contacts. It was well worth the cost.
Oh yes. Everyone has said the exact same thing. And when you think about it you get amazing food, open bar, and superb entertainment while meeting very interesting people in an intimate setting, all for fifty bucks, is an amazing value. Our individual, annual memberships are $99, couples membership $175. I wanted to keep the costs as low as I can while not compromising on quality. The events are essentially a break-even scenario. But it will always be about delivering the highest quality entertainment, food, drinks, and people. That’s the brand of the Cedros Social Club.
For more information on membership, contact Kevin Connors at firstname.lastname@example.org .