September 28, 2021 By Steven Stolman Town & Country
The very idea of Boston conjures up different things for different folks, be it high culture (think Boston Symphony Orchestra), or higher education (start at Harvard, M.I.T., Tufts, Boston University, Emerson, Boston College and work your way through the more than 50 colleges and universities scattered throughout the metropolitan area), or that it’s one of the country’s most enthusiastic sports towns (the Red Sox, the Celtics, the Bruins, and that NFL powerhouse that is the Patriots).
High-style fashion and food, however, have never been Boston’s strong suits. While the clam chowder is hearty and the lobsters plentiful, the cuisine has generally been a bit, well, New England bland—and that’s coming from a Boston-born New Englander. The same goes for fashion. First: historic cobblestone streets and stilettos are a recipe for disaster, and prior to the recent effects of global warming, Boston winters have always been, to use local lingo, wicked.
But with the arrival of a hip new social club, the ‘Quin House, that dog won’t hunt. Its founders, Boston financiers Sandy and Paul Edgerley, not only purchased the Beaux Arts treasure of a McKim, Mead and White building that originally housed the grand yet decrepit Algonquin Club, but also wisely engaged Ken Fulk, maestro of hipster hospitality design, to reimagine the once stuffy club into a dynamic circus of wonder, with all the signature Fulk-isms that Bay Area peeps have encountered at the popular Battery Club, the Saint Joseph Arts Society, the restaurant Tosca, or the myriad Fulk-designed bazillionaire homes.
From the exterior, the ‘Quin House looks like one of many other imposing edifices that dot Boston’s patrician Commonwealth Avenue. Inside, it’s a different story. Members (memberships are by invitation or referral only, with annual dues on a sliding scale) are greeted by lithe hostesses in chic dresses. To the right is Café Q, an all-day casual dining venue that is not only family-friendly but also laptop-friendly—unlike many private city clubs, members are encouraged to use The ‘Quin House as a workspace and business facility. There’s a state-of-the-art fitness center in the basement, alongside a louche nightclub named Scottie’s, and 8 ultra-luxurious hotel rooms on the upper floors. In between, there’s a stunning, grand salon-like living room and three more bars, including a cavernous sports pub that screams “Game Day” alongside more intimate spaces, including the Hideaway, a cozy lounge accessed by a secret door and styled as an homage to Frank Sinatra.
The club’s signature space, Bondo, is a soaring restaurant that celebrates much of the Algonquin Club’s original architecture, but touched by Ken Fulk’s magic, which wows in its usual way. A massive glittering chandelier fashioned from the trunk and roots of an enormous tree looms over the space like a hovering space ship. The menu is decidedly modern, a mix of contemporary Pan-Asian cuisine with a New England twist. Think expertly prepared designer sushi alongside a generous hunk of Boston cod, unctuous short ribs, or a fiery lobster and shrimp stir-fry. The wine list is extensive and expensive, and can be enjoyed both in the main dining room or adjacent to the wine vault. For more potent libations, there’s a bar pretty much everywhere you look, each capable of the latest and greatest craft cocktails. Did I say curated?
Curated is a word that seems etched on every inch of the ‘Quin House, from the Edgerleys’ collection of classic vinyl on display in the living room (be sure to check out the His & Hers painting of Sandy and Paul’s favorite albums), to the charming winter garden, to the stunning sky deck with its panoramic views of the city. Some savvy observers will immediately see the nods to London’s recently reimagined Annabel’s, from that very same vertigris-colored treillage to the thousands of faux flowers hot-glued to the ceiling of the ladies’ loo. Regardless, the ‘Quin House is Boston’s latest garden of delight, and a social slam dunk for those lucky enough to get in.