Published November 15, 2018
The Roaming Social Club (RSC) was stationary over the summer, but it’s hitting the road again.
The organization, which throws parties at Pittsburgh’s myriad social, ethnic and members-only clubs, will pay a visit this Saturday, Nov. 17, to the Bloomfield Liedertafel Singing Society. Local bands Essential Machine and The Beagle Brothers will perform in the club’s second-floor performance space, located on S. Mathilda Street. The entry fee is $7.
“We are hoping to have a strong turnout,” says Ben Soltesz, who co-founded the Club with Stephanie Brea. “With the club being in such a central location, we feel like it’s a hidden gem. They could certainly use new, young membership and once people get to experience it, they will undoubtedly be interested in joining.”
The pair joined forces last January and held six events at clubs around Pittsburgh, giving people a taste of sides of the city they’d never seen. The events also help the members-only nightspots that host the events, by allowing outsiders to enter for a night and perhaps decide to join.
Every club that’s participated so far, including the Allegheny Elks Club, Teutonia Männerchor and the Ancient Order of Hibernians, gained new members from their respective parties.
“The best we did was have over 20 of our attendees purchase a membership at our Teutonia Männerchor event,” Soltesz says of the Northside establishment. “While most clubs offer a $10-$15 social membership, the membership at Teutonia was over $100, and I was surprised at the volume. But people were impressed with that club. They have fantastic beer on tap and great food and social events.”
A VIP membership to Roaming Social Club, which includes access to 12 spots, plus a membership card punched at each location and a complimentary drink during each shindig, costs $120. There’s also a six-stop membership for $60. Commitment-phobic folks can pay $15 at the door at each event.
Clubs from around the region have reached out to RSC in hopes of opening their doors to the group, and perhaps gain new members along the way. RSC has only this criteria in choosing their destinations: There must be some historical aspect to the club and it must be interesting in some way. Smoky dive bars with no backstory need not apply.
After this weekend, Soltesz hopes to hold a party in December and once a month through 2019.
“It’s been a challenge to do monthly events on top of a real, full-time job, kids and other volunteer/community activities that I do,” he says. “But we have had strong support from all the folks that attend and as long as we can keep finding clubs that are interested in hosting us and people willing to travel to them, we can continue this well into next year.”
Photo courtesy of the Roaming Social Club