Inside Zero Bond, the private social club that makes coworking feel luxurious
New York City is never short on exclusive hotspots for those who want to see and be seen. But one of the newest additions to the scene is finding an audience with people across multiple industries central to the city who are looking for an upgraded experience when it comes to both networking and working remotely.
Zero Bond was originally supposed to open in April 2020, but obviously the outbreak of COVID-19 and subsequent lockdown prevented that. The club ended up opening later that year in October, and the site recently celebrated its first anniversary. (Although the site did have to shut down again briefly for eight weeks during the winter of 2020 into 2021 in accordance with New York City ordinances when indoor venue restrictions were reimposed.)
“New York City has long been missing a social club that is truly reflective of the diversity that makes this city so special. I wanted to create a London-style social club in New York that catered to this mixture of people—to creatives and actors as well as doctors, bankers, athletes, and more,” Zero Bond founder Scott Sartiano tells Fortune. “To me, the sign of a great night is a fantastic meal or cocktail, incredible service, and leaving having met someone I wouldn’t have otherwise in any other place. That’s the experience I wanted to create for our members at Zero Bond.”
While Zero Bond exists primarily as a social club, in the post-COVID world, coworking is something the venue wants to expand upon, as more people continue to work remotely a few days per week, if not full-time.
Located at the corner of Bond Street in Manhattan’s NoHo district, the building was constructed in 1874 and first housed a Brooks Brothers factory. The design team kept as much of the original architecture as possible: All the brickwork is original, as well as the restored concrete slabs.
The space was designed by Bill Sofield, whose portfolio includes high-end luxury boutiques for the likes of Yves Saint Laurent and hospitality projects, such as the lobby of the Soho Grand. The Zero Bond team wanted all the materials and finishes to make guests feel cozy, versus the atmosphere found in a standard restaurant or stuffy office space.
“We want you to come to Zero Bond, and the staff knows your name. You can always find a seat, and you are regularly meeting new people you wouldn’t elsewhere,” Sartiano explains. “Every aspect of the Zero Bond experience has been selected with our community in mind, from the art we’ve curated for the space, to the food and beverage offerings, to even the materials used for the furniture. Everything was carefully selected to make you feel more comfortable and for Zero Bond to be your elevated home away from home.”
When the elevator doors part, the first area members will see is the café, with abundant natural light, making it an ideal spot for working remotely. It’s also one of the few places where people can use laptops and take phone calls, including later on in the evening.
The café leads into an atrium with a fully retractable skylight that opens on nicer days, and a handful of soundproof phone booths, where members can conduct Zoom calls. In a nod to the neighborhood’s roots, this room is decorated with pieces by local artists—a few by Warhol and Haring but also some up-and-comers.
And Zero Bond’s collection could rival that of some neighboring galleries, thanks to partnership with the Noho Collective, a local artists’ group that was at the forefront of the BLM street art movement.
The main areas for members to meet and socialize are the salon and the lounge. All the spaces within Zero Bond are open seating and first come, first served. Members are allowed to bring three guests; exceptions are possible for larger parties when the venue can accommodate them. And they can reserve the private dining room, which operates as a conference room during the day, for private dinners, seating between 18 and 20 people.
Before opening Zero Bond, Sartiano says that he and managing partner Will Makris found that “a certain part of the 28- to 50-year-old” age bracket in New York was overlooked in terms of places they could go to socialize. “Other than hotel bars, options were limited when it came to more elevated places to take a date or go for drinks after dinner with friends,” Sartiano explains. “While there’s no one ‘person’ or specific demographic that we’re looking for at Zero Bond, we definitely had this group in mind when creating the space.”
Sartiano stresses that health and safety are top priorities as well, noting that Zero Bond was one of the first venues in the city to implement Remark Holdings’ A.I.-powered Biosafety Thermal Kits, which provided discreet temperature checks at all entry points for employees, staff, and guests. “This was the same technology used by other venues such as the Wynn casino in Las Vegas and provided for a much more seamless customer experience entering the club without the intrusive human contact of a typical temperature check,” he says. “My goal was to create a welcoming new environment for our members that felt clean and safe, but also comforting as we slowly returned to socializing.”
The club’s grill restaurant is one of the few areas where reservations are accepted for dinner. With an elevated take on modern American cuisine, the kitchen’s menu is overseen by Richard Farnabe, whose résumé includes other New York hotspots such as Daniel and Mercer Kitchen. Also hidden away is the sushi bar; Zero Bond management notes that it is the only social club in New York offering an omakase menu.
“Zero Bond was always created to serve as a social club, but we also provide spaces for members to work throughout the day, host lunch meetings, grab a quick coffee, etc.,” says Sartiano. “We’ve made a conscious effort to keep those aspects separate because there’s nothing that ruins the vibe more than going for a drink at 10 p.m. and sitting next to someone still on their laptop. We want to empower our members to use the space for both work and play.”
Zero Bond’s library, curated with books from luxury publisher Assouline, doubles as a pop-up site for various brands. Right now, Zero Bond is hosting a pop-up by skin care brand Dr. Barbara Sturm. Members can treat themselves to on-site facials. (But they must pay out of pocket as products and services offered by the pop-ups are not covered by the club’s membership fee.)
Sartiano adds that Zero Bond has started hosting speakers and comedians along with discussions on topics of interest to members, as well as other specialty programming, such as whiskey and wine tastings. “My long-term vision is for Zero Bond to become a staple and generational hub in New York City. I want my son and his friends to want to become members once they’re old enough and for them to come and enjoy the space alongside my friends and me. That would be my ultimate goal.”
The social club also makes a significant amount of revenue from hosting third-party events, either on the rooftop patio or the cocktail bar one floor below the main rooms. The lower-level bar has its own bespoke cocktail program, intended to serve as a hangout spot for members on Friday and Saturday nights. Off to the side of the cocktail bar is a locked room, for which members have their own keys. Evoking a speakeasy vibe, the room also has lockers for members who wish to store their own wine on the premises.
Membership to Zero Bond is $3,000 a year, with a one-time initiation fee of $1,000. That membership fee covers access to the building and all the facilities, but any drinks, meals, event tickets, etc., are not covered and must be paid for à la carte. “We also didn’t want to create a space where only rich New Yorkers can afford to go,” Sartiano says. “We made sure the membership fees were reasonable and not a barrier to entry to ensure we’re getting a really well-rounded group of members.”
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