|all photos by Antonio Diaz|
Groucho Marx refused to take part in any club that would have him as a member, or so he famously said, but I'm not sure that even he could resist the allure of exclusivity surrounding the new Blue Room. The entryway to the club within a club says it all: Step through a secret bookcase on the fourth floor of the Los Angeles Athletic Club, and enter a speakeasy that once played host to Charlie Chaplin, Clark Gable and Spencer Tracey.
To call the Blue Room "new" is really an anachronism, as the space existed when the athletic club first opened in 1912. As the home of LAAC's Uplifters Club, the influential men's social club moved out of the Blue Room in the 1920s to avoid the scrutiny of prohibition. It was only during the athletic club's recent renovations that the long-forgotten clandestine passageway to the Blue Room was rediscovered. Of course, the booze flows freely now, and the private club's air of mystery is a wise style choice by designer Timothy Oulton rather than a bootlegging-era necessity.
As the master of all things masculine and antique, Oulton has incorporated furniture from his own handcrafted collections into the design of the Blue Room. Crystal chandeliers, vintage sporting equipment, historic LAAC athletic photos and antique lockers complete the heritage look.
In keeping with its ultra-exclusive vibe, the Blue Room will offer private access Monday through Thursday to designated LACC "Medalist" members. On weekends, the space can be booked for private and corporate events, and tech industry networking groups will be hosted monthly.