HAVE YOU EVER WANTED TO ENTERTAIN FRIENDS, but the hassle of hosting, not to mention the stressful piles of dirty laundry hidden in the closet, were too much to handle? Or, perhaps you needed to meet with a client, but your local coffee shop was too full. Worse yet, maybe you were enjoying a night out with a friend when the server warned you of the 90-minute time limit on your table, forcing your night to end prematurely. Enter Birch Road Cellar, the private club that’s unlike any other private club.
When childhood friends Sharon Provins and Kim Bosse founded Birch Road (a nod to the street they grew up on), they were simply craving a place where they could open a bottle of wine and talk all night. Somewhere that was “out”, but felt like a great night in. They decided to create their very own neighborhood clubhouse, and it turns out, other people were interested too.
For just $105 a month, members gain access to the clubhouse via fingerprint scan, seven days a week, including holidays, from 8 a.m. to 1 a.m. Anyone can join; no references or committee approval are necessary. Gone are the hoity toity application requirements and dress codes of traditional, members-only clubs. Instead, they employ a refreshing, open-door policy for new members, and despite what you’ve heard about private clubs, Birch Road makes it a point to attract people who see the world differently.
“Variety is the spice of life! I can’t tell you how many times people tell me, ‘I meet the most interesting people at Birch Road.’’’ explains Provins. “The truth is, they are not that extraordinary, they are just someone you wouldn’t normally meet, because they are different from you. Everyone is interesting if you make the time to talk with them long enough.”
So what exactly is a neighborhood clubhouse? Imagine a grown-up version of the block you grew up on, where there was never a shortage of adventures or friends to explore with. It’s built on an appreciation for the little things that make life great: interesting conversation, good people, and great food, with your favorite drink in hand, of course.
Unquestionably, Birch Road is meant to be an extension of your home, and everyone knows we could all use a little extra space these days—we’re looking at you, Seattle real estate market. “Members have total flexibility and access to the space,” says Provins. “With members coming and going throughout the day, there isn’t a typical busy time, so the club rarely gets overcrowded. There’s no need to book reservations weeks in advance, and no time limit on tables. You are invited to linger without the distractions of crowds or loud music.”
You’ll find the neighborhood clubhouse in First Hill, surrounded by a sea of high rise apartments, hidden in plain sight at the Carriage House of the landmark Stimson-Green Mansion—one of Seattle’s oldest residences and the site of many lavish soirees throughout history. “We’re big suckers for a story,” admits Bosse. “We love a bottle that has a good story behind it. We love a space that has a good story behind it. It’s such a perfect fit for us.”
Just because Birch Road is reasonably priced and more casual than your typical private club, that doesn't mean it skimps on quality; beautiful lighting, comfortable and stylish seating, elegant ambience, and incredible service are all part of the package. The clubhouse is also well-stocked with glassware, plateware, non-alcoholic beverages, coffee, and high-speed Wifi.
Oh, and it’s 100% BYOB. You heard that right, you are the bartender. With all of your favorite wine, beer, and spirits close at hand in your own personal locker, you never have to make compromises. You can drink what you love every single time: a bottle from a small winery you just discovered in Walla Walla, a new release from a local distillery, or let’s be honest, Trader Joe’s latest sale bottle, there’s no judgement at Birch Road. Plus, outside food, whether that’s local takeout, catering, or snacks from home, is always welcome and encouraged.
Birch Road also reconnects people to a bygone era of tightly-knit communities, when people actually knew their neighbors. “Because we are in the neighborhood, we’ve got members who live in the same building, but had never met each other,” says Bosse. “They are shocked and delighted to discover that they are neighbors when they meet at the club.”
During its Sunday Fun Day series, members can share their passions with their fellow members—artisanal butter tasting, kimchi making, or even learning how to saber a champagne bottle. And with the club’s commitment to supporting local businesses, Birch Road-ers get access to exclusive member events with local winemakers, distilleries, and small producers.
The excitement extends beyond the clubhouse too. Members have a built-in group of friends to explore what Seattle has to offer, especially the cocktail enthusiasts, affectionately referred to as the Bevvies. The gang recently took a field trip to Westland Distillery to sample American single malt whiskeys, and additional tastings are planned for the months ahead.
If you're intrigued by this new concept, book a tour to see for yourself what a neighborhood clubhouse is all about.
1212 Minor Ave, Seattle, WA 98101