The Summit Club’s long-planned $8 million renovation is a serendipitous boon for downtown Tulsa’s recent dining, living and entertainment renaissance.
The redesign of the club, perched on the top three floors of the 32-story Bank of America Center, began in January and reflects the transformation of Tulsa from Oil Capital of the World to a lifestyle destination.
Jared Jordan, Summit’s general manager, says remodeling is part of the club’s strategic plan.
“It was time, as we last renovated a little over 11 years ago and downtown has changed a lot,” he says. “At one point, we were one of the only games in town.”
Erik Peterson, founder and president of Arizona-based PHX Architecture, which is handling the multi-month project, says “it’s important for clubs to realize they have to keep up with the times and the Summit Club understands that. You have to stay fresh. We track hospitality projects worldwide and understand the changing ways of how clientele want to have an experience, to be entertained, which is what everyone is craving today.
“The Summit Club is not your grandfather’s club with just men. It’s family-based, women-based, people-based, as we all want experiences to share with family, friends and clients.”
Changes to every floor should involve few interruptions so that spaces can still be used, Peterson says. Floors 30 and 31 should be done in May, floor 32 in September.
Jordan says the updated ballroom will have increased seating capacity. The 31st floor will have private dining areas for small events. One new area will provide semi-formal and/or casual dining with varied culinary styles and lower prices. Recipes are being tested for a brick oven. Other upgrades include the penthouse and cigar room.
“This project is an exciting opportunity bringing something unique and different,” Peterson says. “It’s a ‘Summit Club meets Soho club’ type environment. London’s Soho concept is moving across the world. This will be a unique twist on that style of a hip, energy-filled club with the right lighting, the right furniture, and the right vibe attracting people of different age groups as bringing that middle age and younger group is crucial for clubs to attract new members.
“These days, many people aren’t working in a traditional office environment; they work at home and want a Starbucks, WeWork feeling at their club to entertain clients. The Summit Club is not just a Friday or Saturday thing for formal dinners, but somewhere to be all day long for family use, casual dining and formal events.”
Jordan says formal options always evolve and are “an example of what fine dining should be, with our executive chef, William Lyle, and sous chef, Michael Wilson, both pushing the envelope. The addition of a chef’s table dining experience is another opportunity. We place a huge emphasis on an overall, elevated experience.”
Peterson says visitors shouldn’t “expect shocking visual change. The glass all around calls for a livened, lighter and eclectic vibe as the Soho concept is a mix of furniture styles and types rather than a singular look. It’s organic in feeling and gives people comfortable choices of where they want to congregate. There is bar seating, community tables and cabana booths where you can pull the curtains if you choose to – just a great selection of places to be, like ottomans to be moved for small plates and drinks at the windows.
“It’s a different experience every time you come.”