The Battery, one of the city's swankiest private clubs, improves its game—stay at its hotel to see how.
The Library is now an event space featuring cocktails and food.
Behind the doors of the unassuming brick facade of 717 Battery St., members are transported to another time—when private social clubs with opulent, speakeasy vibes were spoken about in hushed tones. Here, members can choose from an array of rooms and activities in the converted icehouse building, which now boasts multiple bars, a restaurant, spa and fitness center, a library, courtyard and a luxury hotel with a penthouse available for private events.
The Musto & Green room
What exactly is this place? Known simply as The Battery, the elite, five-level, 58,000-square-foot social club, created nearly a decade ago, now has roughly 5,000 members. It was founded by husband-and-wife duo Michael and Xochi Birch, who also created the early social network Bebo. During the past nine years, many have tried to catch a glimpse of its interior, but there are only two ways to do so: Become a member or book a room at the hotel.
Let’s start with the first option. To become a member, prospective clubbers must be nominated by an existing member, then go through a series of interviews with a committee that decides who gets in (there are annual membership dues). And now the other option: booking a room. Spend a night at one of the 14 guest rooms, which gives patrons honorary club membership during a stay (rooms range from $495 to $745 per night).
Since the pandemic, The Battery has reimagined—via the vision of local design maven Ken Fulk—some of its spaces without compromising its members’ social and dining experiences. Standout newly redesigned spaces include The Library, which is now an event venue featuring Champagne, caviar, cheese and inventive cocktails. Penrose, once a sedate whiskey bar in the club’s Living Room restaurant, now boasts a 1960s-inspired spirits bar that’s enclosed in a beautiful stained-glass Mondrian wall. Guests also shouldn’t miss the transformation of The Penthouse, previously the club’s premier hotel room, which will soon become one of the city’s best rooftop lounges and event space.
The House Bar
“One of the biggest additions we made, while physically reimagining these spaces, is ensuring that food was being served,” says Thomas Kennedy, director of membership operations. “Being a social club, sharing stories over food and drink is paramount to connection. With that, chef Brandon Hicks works tirelessly to offer unique bites in each space, so no individual space feels less than another. For example, the chef is confident that his caviar and cheese selection rivals the best in the world.” We can say with confidence (and experience) that they do, much like everything else at this wonderland of chic civility and surprises. 717 Battery St., 415.230.8000
Photography by: PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE BATTERY