Established on May 6, 1860, The Olympic Club enjoys the distinction of being America’s oldest athletic club, and has been located the same building in downtown San Francisco since 1912. Over its history it has continued to be a top-tier, member-driven establishment for a range of sporting and social San Franciscans with high expectations.
The building, located in Union Square is multistoried and diverse with swimming pools, basketball courts, weight rooms, and amenities for its members. Being a historic membership club that was once men only, it is quite formal with a dress code and an established etiquette of behavior. This renovation covered the three food and beverage establishments in disparate locations in the building – each with a distinct function and experience.
The sports bar and grill named Article Three, which denotes a passage from their mission statement, was the primary renovation, the most complex, and the largest at 5,000 square feet. The requirements were to make it an all day destination that would feel welcoming from breakfast through lunch and into dinner, while also accommodating individuals and groups to watch sports. The building itself is quite neoclassical and so Article Three is designed to be contemporary and ‘clubby’ – while also being rooted in the clubs history. The previous grill room was closed off from the Lobby, and so not only was the space completely re-designed, it was also opened up to the lobby, which makes it prominent when the building is entered and also enhances the club’s lobby.
At the other end of the lobby is 1860. This is a small bar that is adjacent to the club’s trophy room. It is intimate and designed to blend more with the very traditional décor around it. Its experience is that of a quiet living room with large comfortable furniture and a fireplace where individuals or small groups can have a cocktail and chat.
The third venue is the BM Café, which is located in an area that overlooks one of the clubs beautiful swimming pools, while also being close to work-out and locker rooms. This space is set up to serve prepared food and beverages in two very casual spaces – one of which overlooks the pool. A brighter, more colorful pallet was implemented to create a more sporting feel, and also as a place for members in their athletic gear to relax.
Photography by Paul Dyer