Most exclusive, member-only social clubs are known for being where the biggest money and power players gather to discuss the day’s events, close business deals or swap stories of summers in the Hamptons. But San Francisco’s The Battery, is not your ordinary private club. While being a part of the Bay Area’s one percent is likely to get you an invite to a dinner or a wine-tasting party behind The Battery’s walls, memberships are not so easy to come by. It’s entirely invitation only. To join this super-elite clubhouse, you have to not only know a current member who will nominate you for consideration, but then you must apply and be approved. Money will not get you through those doors, but then, that’s exactly how owners, Michael and Xochi Birch designed it.
After selling their tech start-up Bebo to AOL in 2008 for $850 million, the husband and wife team moved to San Francisco from London in search of something new. Instead they found themselves drawn back into the tech world, far from the art scene that had initially inspired them to relocate to the City by the Bay. They decided they needed a place to connect and converse with other professionals in a wide array of fields, and desired a social club that would connect the city’s key players to one another regardless of power or wealth. In 2008 they bought the old Musto Building on Battery, and renovated it into a five floor clubhouse. The Battery boasts four bars, 14 boutique hotel rooms, a penthouse with roof deck and 20-person hot tub, gym, spa and an interior that would rival any five-star hotel. In 2013 it opened with only 100 members.
Today the social club’s member list has grown to include the movers and shakers in art, tech, fashion, theater, education, law, philanthropy and literature in the Bay Area, ranging from 21 to over 80 years of age. For those lucky enough to be a part of this exclusive circle, yearly membership fees are estimated to begin around $2,400, but for young entrepreneurs or fledgling artists, scholarships are available. Here it’s not about money, but rather about diversity and inciting conversation and creativity. "We want diversity in every sense of the word," Xochi Birch told SF Gate. "I view it as us trying to curate a community."