Creating a successful bar space is a lot like a mixing a good cocktail—it requires a combination of carefully balanced ambiance, lighting, seating, food and drinks.
In clubs, the bar sees some of the greatest amount of repeat business and can often represent a significant revenue stream. Yet, the facilities provided to serve a club’s signature libations often receive too little attention, thus resulting in little to no member usage.
THE GOAL:Woodholme CC wanted to reclaim a lost bar space to improve member socialization and congregation.
THE PLAN:A building committee of a small group of members and the GM worked with the club’s interior designer to create the newly renovated Bar 27. Members were assessed over a six-month period to pay for the project, which included the addition of a children’s activity room.
THE PAYOFF: Beverage sales are up 20%, as members pack into Bar 27 on a nightly basis.
Until recently, that was the situation at Woodholme Country Club, in Pikesville, Md.
“The bar was dated, uninviting and cold—not a good combination,” says General Manager Mitchell Platt, CCM, CCE. To reclaim what was rightfully theirs, the club set out renovating the existing space (see photo, below) into what is now the much more appealing Bar 27 (see photo, above).
“A previous renovation had moved the bar from a central open location to a closed room,” Platt says. “We wanted to open the walls again and make the new Bar 27 part of the lobby area, thus creating a warmer, more inviting space.”
Platt and his team faced a tough time selling a project of this size and scope to members during difficult economic times. “Since they didn’t use the bar before, they didn’t understand the need to renovate,” he says. “Our unique selling point was that we would be able to get really great deals on construction. Fortunately, the members here tend to take a look-forward approach and although the economy was troubling, they agreed that this renovation would be in the best long-term interests of the club.”
Once opened, Bar 27—named for the year Woodholme CC was founded—proved to be an immediate hit with members, who love the feel and sophistication of the design. A new light-fare and specialty-drink menu was also created specifically for the space.
“We created an additional dining outlet for members, as well as a more casual space for those waiting to be seated in the dining room,” says Platt. “Members gather for sporting events and other club activities here, too. And with wireless Internet access available, we even had some members host their fantasy-league drafts here.”
Bar 27 is more than just a pretty face. According to Platt, the new digs have led to a 20% increase in beverage sales. “The challenge now is to find space at Bar 27 for our members,” he says. “It’s a nice problem to have.”