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Underground Supper Clubs

These secret culinary speakeasies turn out unique dining experiences

By Ariana Speyer

May 16th, 2008

Welcome to the era of the underground supper club, a kind of professional dinner party masterminded by a talented (and often amateur) chef bringing together a group of strangers, usually in a private home. Long common in Hong Kong and Cuba, a few started bubbling to the surface in the U.S. around 2001 and now they are sprouting up worldwide. These “culinary speakeasies,” which operate without licenses or inspections (partially explaining their aura of secrecy), turn out unique—and often transporting—dining experiences. For the food lover, they’re a welcome alternative to the overblown restaurant scene. For the traveler, they’re a way to explore a new city by breaking bread with the locals. We’ve culled a few impressive examples, both pioneers and up-and-comers, and will tell you how to get a seat at the table.

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