The Blue Room
Downtown is home to three of the most storied, prestigious, and exclusive private clubs in the country. The Los Angeles Athletic Club, is Downtown’s oldest. Founded in 1880, LAAC moved to its current location at the corner of 7th and Olive in 1912. Recent renovation of the 5th and 6th floors, revealed a long-forgotten concealed staircase ascending to the fourth floor. This secret passage, built during prohibition, has been re-opened and now used to access the freshly designed Blue Room, a private hub for LAAC members and its social clubs.
The dim, narrow staircase is lined with photographs taken at the club from 1880 to mid-century. The images show club activities from acrobats and weightlifters to turn-of-the-century boxers and swimmers. “We really raided the basement”, says General Manager Cory Hathaway, “we pulled over 200 pictures from the archives”.
Once you reach the top of the staircase, and pass through a heavy, black velvet curtain, the Blue Room reveals itself slowly, its quarters are intimate but meandering. The thick, masculine, and decidedly British furniture by designer Timothy Oulton is right at home with walls decorated with squash racquets and antique lockers from the subterranean vaults. Dozens of large, black and white photographs reveal a surreal chronology. Seeing over 100 years of Downtown history, names like Lankershim, Chandler, and Slauson; Hollywood luminaries like Mary Pickford and Charlie Chaplin; it takes a few minutes to realize these aren’t props, but a glimpse at the rich heritage of Downtown, a history known only to an exclusive few.
Walls and shelves adorned with the original books from the library can found throughout, culminating in a massive column that will keep you staring at spines for hours, if not for the glorious cocktail bar by Liquid Assets and the all too cool scotch lockers and private service by Macallan.
The Blue Room’s resurrection coincides with the re-birth of The Uplifters, an LAAC social club founded in 1913 to "uplift art, promote good fellowship and build a closer acquaintance”. Chair of The Uplifters, Eva Goicochea, says, “The current group is a cast of 20 chosen because they're great candidates to make a contribution to the club with backgrounds in the arts, design, tech or culture. They like others before them, will foster the club's tradition of being an artistic and cultural epicenter for the city.”
Take heed young entrepreneurs and all you budding movers and shakers, The Blue Room is ready to host the next generation of Downtown’s best in class.