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Private Clubs Offer an Upscale Setting for a Meeting or Event

By Roger Gordon

Private clubs are not just members-only these days. There are many private city clubs that are beautiful spaces for guests to hold private meetings and events. The following are three of them in the Twin Cities area.

Minneapolis Club

For a traditional city club experience, the downtown Minneapolis Club is for you. Built in 1908, it is elegant, but with some modern features. “Our main dining room, or the ballroom, on the third floor is all hardwood floors. Carpeting is pretty much throughout the building,” says General Manager Tom Olson. “There are different transitional areas like marble and natural stone, depending on where you are in the club. It’s taking that turn of the century, early architecture and modernizing it over time to be updated with what’s going on now in the private-club world.”

There are 18 meeting and event spaces. The largest is the ballroom, which can accommodate up to 218 guests for a seated dinner and up to 800 for a cocktail party. The smallest space can host up to 12 guests seated. Multiple spaces can be made to be larger or smaller. Most of the event spaces have screens available for audio-visual and computer hookups. Wi-Fi is available throughout the building. A business center, equipped with printers and copiers, is available for members or event hosts if their event is sponsored by a member.

The most popular menu item is the smoked turkey sandwich. “We can customize your menu to anything,” says Olson. “It doesn’t have to be just what’s on the meeting and banquet menu. With all the different dietary needs that are out there now, we’re very apt at making sure we take care of the customer that way. We have an award-winning chef, Håkan Lundberg. Guests just love our cuisine and our attention to detail to provide them an extraordinary experience. They also like the ease that we provide for them regarding making sure that everything goes smoothly.”

The University Club of St. Paul

The University Club of St. Paul is a club for the educated. Built in 1913 as a university club for members only, there were small rooms that they could rent for overnight stays. “The architecture makes guests feel like they’re in a very historic place,” says Sue Katsiotis, the membership and programming director. “It looks just like it did when it was built. The chandeliers, the ceiling in our beautiful Summit Room, which was the original dining room of the club … most everything is original. It’s a unique setting. The club is located at the top of a hill on the edge of downtown.”

In the winter, there are six event spaces: the Summit Room, the Overlook, the Library, the Terrace, the Varsity Grill and the President’s Room. The largest is the Summit Room, which can accommodate up to 150 guests seated and up to 200 standing. The smallest space can host up to 16 guests seated and up to 20 standing. Amenities include Wi-Fi, screens and projectors. “You know you’re in a historic setting when you’re in those meeting spaces,” Katsiotis says. “Groups really like the spaces, especially groups who like to have breakout groups and like to move around.”

Favorite menu items include the deli lunch buffet and the Cobb salad.

“Groups like our attention to detail and attention to service,” says Katsiotis.

Brick x Mortar

Brick x Mortar offers a big-city feel. “The comment that we hear over and over again is, ‘It doesn’t feel like I’m in Minneapolis,’” says founder Zach Sussman. “It’s really a unique space for Minneapolis. It feels like you’re in Manhattan or Chicago. It also has a breathtaking view of the downtown skyline.”

Located in a historically designated brownstone (built in 1886) in the warehouse district of downtown, Brick x Mortar is a members-only social club and shared workspace where guests can host events if sponsored by a member. Though the building itself is historic, featuring exposed brick and timbers, original hardwood floors and arched windows, but the design and décor is modern. “The reason we selected this space was because we loved the historical character of it,” Sussman says. “That’s where the name Brick x Mortar comes from. You can tell the building is historic—the archways, the architecture, everything about it.”

The club occupies the fourth floor and rooftop patio. Features include original exposed beams and brick and original wood floors. The main level can accommodate up to 50 guests seated and up to 150 standing. It has a bar area, a media lounge area, living room, kitchen and a private, glassed-in conference room that can host up to 10 guests seated. A rooftop patio can accommodate up to 30 guests seated and up to 100 standing. “It’s the only private rooftop patio in the warehouse district,” says Sussman.

An extensive preferred catering list is available, but groups may provide their own caterer.

“It’s a unique, eclectic space,” says Sussman.