This was after our successful South Bay hunt, and by now we were feeling like the SF City Club probably wouldn't be our venue, but we were hoping to find somewhere that would have its own charm and be within our budget, while still being convenient for our out of town guests. The East Bay wouldn't have been as easy as the South Bay; airports are a little further away, and there are parts of the East Bay that are a little rough around the edges, especially from out of towners hailing from smaller midwestern towns, but there were some great historical buildings to visit. Our first stop of the day was a different City Club... The Berkeley City Club! Built by Hearst Castle architect Julia Morgan, it really and truly did feel like a mini Hearst Castle, between the architecture and decor. Ultimately, it was a little too ornamental for John's taste, although I thought it had a lovely period flare (if not Art Deco-specific). If it had been just me making the decision, I would have explored this option more, but it didn't resonate with John and his preference for simple, clean lines.
Price-wise, the Berkeley City Club was less than SF City Club, but still a little higher than where we were comfortable ending up. I loved the history, and it would have been almost like getting married in a museum, but we wouldn't have had much of an opportunity to infuse our personality into the space. John was concerned that the venue wasn't as well-versed in hosting a wedding as some of our other options. The rental would have included much of the upstairs area, but as we weren't able to schedule an official tour, I never did get it straight which areas were up for grabs. One ceremony space option was an upstairs terrace (which, as John pointed out, had a lovely view of the free clinic dispensing clean needles across the way).
|The view into a small garden from the upstairs terrace!|
|Looking back into the Club from the upstairs terrace|
And this is what would have been the likeliest reception space.
There was no nearby lodging for out of town guests, so we would have had to have figured out the parking issue at some point or another. It wouldn't have been impossible, but it's likely we would have had to ask guests to pay for parking-- not ideal! It was such a neat place to look through, though. Just for kicks, I've included a couple of other pictures of the Berkeley City Club. These are areas not included in the rental! It really is a hidden gem, if you live in the area I think it is worth seeing if you can explore, whether or not you're considering it for an event.
|A small garden on the ground floor|
|A lounge area|
|The indoor pool!|
|The hallway; reception to the left of the columns|
|The reception room; I took the picture from under the columns/ arches|
I didn't like the idea that people would have to walk down the hall to a different room to dance; I wanted a space where even the wall flower would be able to sit and relax and chat while watching others dance, so everyone would feel like they were part of the same event.
|The front entrance|