OCEAN AVE — A designer and a businessman walk into a bar, but this time, the bartender doesn’t ask them what they’d like to drink, because the bartender already knows.
That scene is what Max Russo envisions with his new members-only social club, 41 Ocean.
“When you come in, everybody knows your name. They know everything you’re drinking and everything you’re eating. So you get this amazing service where you feel like you’re at home,” Russo says as he takes a journalist on a tour of the new venue.
Located just a hop, skip and a jump from the Santa Monica Pier, 41 Ocean will be one of the only social clubs of its kind on the Westside. For a yearly fee of $2,000 — or $1,250 if under 30 years of age — members can enjoy a variety of perks, such as free hosting of events at the club and discounts at local hotels for those who are from out of town. There will also be a six-person electric golf cart available to pick up and drop off a member if they live in the area.
Becoming a member involves more than simply paying the yearly fee. A prospective member will have to fill out a unique application which asks questions about items on their bucket list, favorite wines and charities they support.
After receiving and reviewing the application, Russo will put membership hopefuls through his own screening process to get to know them on a more personal level.“I meet with every member one on one. We talk about them, who they are and what they’re doing,” Russo says.
There is already a 200-person waiting list, he claims.
Designed by Russo’s lifetime friend Matt Winter, the space is decorated in the Spanish Revival style of the 1910s to the 1930s. The furniture, light fixtures, rugs and even the bar are all true to the time period. Growing up in a Spanish house, Winter wanted to create something that replicated the comfort he felt in his own home.
“You can literally sit in this place, have a drink and you don’t want to go anywhere. It feels like a cozy mansion,” Winter says.
The food on the menu will go along with the theme of the club and include dishes such as bone marrow and ox cheek. The menu will also feature more contemporary dishes, such as lobster, salmon and various salads. The menu was designed by “Top Chef” star Chris Crary, who will serve as executive chef.
The most unique characteristic of dining at 41 Ocean will be that the choices will constantly change. New dishes will be added to the menu on a regular basis, and outside chefs will make appearances to guest cook, Russo promises
“Who wants to eat at the same restaurant every day?” Russo says. “We’re trying to create something where people are always excited; always innovative. We have to keep it fresh.”
Eclectic music choices will fill the atmosphere of 41 Ocean on a nightly basis, including live jazz bands that will perform periodically at the club. The mood of the bar will be dictated by the variety of music that is played.
“It can start off early with pianos, Spanish-themed music, guitars — really acoustic-type stuff,” Russo says. “As the night goes on, it’ll pick up and you’re going to get The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Madonna, Guns ‘N Roses and AC/DC.”
The grand opening of 41 Ocean will be held on Jan. 25 and will feature a musical performance by up and coming songstress Andra Day, whose retro-influenced sound and powerful vocals seem tailor made for the club.