Private Detroit Club is ready for its next act
An upscale restaurant in the ground floor, the Grille Room, is open to the public, otherwise the club is for members only
When members of the newly-renovated Detroit Club walk into the four-story historic building at Cass and Fort, they’ll see a mix of old school charm with modern amenities.
New owners Emre and Lynn Uralli purchased the 45,000-square-foot private club in 2014. The real estate developers updated or renovated every room in the building, which was established in 1882.
The private Detroit Club had only a few members left when the Urallis purchased it. Now after a multi-million dollar facelift they have begun accepting applications for new members. Membership includes access to the private cigar lounge, library, banquet and special event rooms, luxury overnight rooms, spa and fitness center and more.
Lynn Uralli says that while changes and updates were made, they took care to keep the integrity of the decor “as close to the original and the era that it was created.”
“When you walk in, there are obviously some elements that need to be new, but you feel like you’re walking into a time warp a little bit,” she said. “And that was the intent. We wanted you to feel like you’re walking into something from 100 years ago, and you feel special.”
Uralli says they’re going to see how things flow with 300 members, and if there’s room they may allow up to 500.
The club’s ground floor is home to the Grille Room, a 64-seat restaurant and bar that is open to the public for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch. Lynn Uralli says when she purchased the building, the restaurant had white walls and a ton of taxidermy. Inspired by a trip she took to Paris, the space today is decked in warmer, dark tones with solid furniture, rich hardwood floors and romantic lighting.
Opening Jan. 22, this is the only room in the Detroit Club that is available to the general public. Dining reservations are required. Details on the restaurant’s menu and chef aren’t available yet, but diners can expect a house burger, steaks and an “upscale” menu for both lunch and dinner.
Also on the ground floor are two telephone booths in the front lobby. The owners are asking restaurant guests and members to only make calls and send texts in these booths, and not anywhere else. Laptops and tablet use must be kept to the members-only library.
A glass counter filled with artifacts from the club’s history is also in the lobby. A large stationary cigar lighter is mounted to a post. Today, cigars can only be enjoyed in the designated cigar lounge on the third floor, which is located above the alley that separates the Detroit Club from the former Free Press building. The third floor is also home to the billiards room and the lush Presidential Ballroom.
Speaking of which, Presidents Hoover, Roosevelt, Truman and Eisenhower are said to have all visited the Detroit Club during their terms.
The second floor has additional ballrooms and special event spaces. These rooms can accommodate 250-1600 guests.
Accessible via a grand staircase or a very tiny elevator, the fourth floor has 10 luxury overnight rooms, each bigger than the next. These, like the special event spaces, are available to members and their friends and family. The overnight rooms each have unique decor; many have clawfoot tubs and all have smart televisions.
Once upon a time the Detroit Club, which used to be open to men only, had a bowling alley in the basement, but for the past several years it was largely used for storage. For the re-do, plaster walls were torn down to reveal beautiful brickwork and doorway arches.
The Urallis built a private spa and fitness center here with state-of-the-art gym equipment, treatment rooms (massage and facials) and a co-ed hot tub. Each of the men’s and women’s locker rooms also have small saunas.
The Detroit Club, which employs just over 100 people, is at 712 Cass, Detroit. Call (313) 338-3222 for reservations to the Grille Room. Visit thedetroitclub.com for more information or to apply for membership.