Imagining a hotbed for business, creativity, collaboration and good times, Max Russo and Jeremy Umland opened 41 Ocean in Santa Monica this week.
The club packs a long list of amenities and regular events: a screening room for movie nights and football, vintage bar, performance space, dining room and al fresco patio, private valet, dog-friendly brunches, a wine cellar for members, and many more. These luxuries come at a price to 41 Ocean's members: yearly dues between $1,250 for the under-30 crowd and $2,000 for everyone else.
41 Ocean's staff has been plucked from other L.A. institutions—Chef Chris Crary from Whist at the Viceroy Santa Monica, beverage consultant Noah Ellis from Red Medicine, and the space was designed by Matt Winter, who designed Oldfield's and Sassafras.
Max Russo, managing partner and director of memberships, told Patch how Santa Monica landed this new exclusive hotspot.
Patch: When you were looking for a location for this club, what made you choose Santa Monica?
Max Russo: Santa Monica needed it. Venice has a lot of places that are like this, but there's not a lot besides Bungalow here. There's no real place for business people, investors and creative people to know they have a place that they can sit down and have a drink, and people know your name. Kind of like "Cheers."
Patch: How did you find this space? What did it look like when you found it and what has changed?
Russo: Well, my partner found Bamboo Izakaya (new restaurant on Ocean—41 Ocean is located off the courtyard of the same building) and we got together over that, about three months ago. It was modern [style] before—everything from the plaster on the walls and the exposed beams—it all looks like it's been here forever but it's new. The bar is from the 1920's and all the tile is vintage. The furniture is all from 1910-30. (41 Ocean replaces Abode.)
Patch: How have guests received the club?
Russo: Everyone who lives in Santa Monica and Venice has said, "thank you." There are so many people on the Westside who live here but drive all the way to Soho House (a private members-only club in West Hollywood) and they either drive drunk or sit in traffic.
Patch: What kinds of qualities or achievements do you look for in your members?
Russo: Membership isn't based on where you work or who your parents are. I had this experience once where I was trying to get into a club and the girl said, "Max, I'm letting you in but only because I know your father." Those are just things that you do—not who you are. It's really about what you've done with your life. We have our first 150 members, and we'll take the time to find the right people.
Patch: So after 41 Ocean opens officially, on a typical night when you come in, what do you want to see?
Russo: I want to see people from 25 to 65, entrepreneurs, men and women who are hardworking and fun. I want to see older guys telling younger people stories and challenging each other in a really good way. I was so adamant that this would not be or feel like a men's club, that women would feel welcome. Imagine you're having a bad day at work and you know that you can come to 41 Ocean and you'll have a drink waiting for you, and at least a couple of people there who know your name.
For more information about 41 Ocean, click here to visit its website. This interview has been condensed and edited for length and clarity.