University Club To Add Three New Restaurants For Expansion And Renovation [VIDEO]By Anne Collins, UniversityHerald Reporter
The University Club announced that they will add three new restaurants. It includes a cyber cafe an outdoor dining with panoramic view of Millennium Park. They plan to add 15,000 square feet to transform the club with its more than $10 million renovation. It is set to be finished by Labor Day and is expanding into the neighboring property.
The University Club was started in 1887 by wealthy Ivy League men who wanted a place to feel at home. In 2004, Anthony Lapasso, a longtime member and also an architect, sold his 30 S. Michigan Ave. property to the University Club. Now the club connects seventh and eight floors of the Michigan and Monroe streets to its main property.
The expansion includes a year-round casual restaurant, two private dining rooms, an intimate bar and a casual lounge with big-screen TVs and comfy couches for guest to watch sports, concerts and political debates. During the day, the lounge will serve as a cyber cafe. They also plan to add an outdoor terrace on the new roof the 30 S. Michigan building.
They will all have a new modern design while still keeping old-school touches like the high ceilings notable in the club's Cathedral Hall. Mark Baker, a longtime hospitality executive who is leading the renovation said they want to make sure it's related to the club but isn't exactly the same. Baker also happens to be the club's chef.
Baker said they are seeing membership grow and millennials like the idea of private clubs, which is why they decided to do the expansion. But they did have their difficult times when the club struggled in 2014.
The University Club remains exclusive and men can now walk in without ties. Women got the OK to join in 1976 and now account for 40 percent of membership. The club has about 2,100 members in Chicago and another 1,000 in other categories, The Chicago Sun Times reported.
Francesca Stirrat, membership director said the numbers have gone up since last year. Memberships start at $144 per month plus an initiation fee.