Just about everything that’s been done in the renovation/restoration of Wrigley Field has been excellent. (As I’ve noted before, the only thing I miss is the bullpens on the field.)
This top-rate work was on display to a media tour of the American Airlines 1914 Club at Wrigley Field, the first of four new high-end clubs that the team is constructing. The other three are expected to open for the 2019 season: The Maker’s Mark Barrel Room and the W Club at the same underground level as the 1914 Club, and the Catalina Club in the upper deck under the press box.
More than 12,000 tons of dirt were excavated to make room for these underground clubs, which stand 26 feet below ground. Here’s a December 2016 view of the excavation:
Another Friday view of the future American Airlines 1914 Club. pic.twitter.com/aZKzEJlCKp— Wrigley Aerials (@WrigleyAerials) December 14, 2016
Much of that area is now the beautiful club you see in the photos at the top of this post.
There are 700 members of the club, and Cubs VP of Sales and Marketing Colin Faulkner said that they are completely sold out. The club is designed so that all 700 members could be there on a given day and not feel crowded. You can see how spacious the seating area is, and the high ceilings give the club a very spacious feel. The dark wood and metal trim is designed to evoke the era around 1914, and the Sloan people designed special faucets for the restrooms in the style of that era.
The club is designed mainly for pre-game food and drink; they deliberately did not put many TV monitors in there because they don’t want the club members hanging out there during games, instead they hope they’ll be in their seats, which are now the first seven rows of the lower box seats in between the dugouts (photo 19). Of course, it’s a good place for members to be able to go during rain delays. The Cubs officials giving the tour noted that the seats connected to this club were pretty well filled on Opening Day, so the idea that this club is mainly for pre- and post-game entertainment seems to be taking hold among the club members.
The merchandise shown in photos 10 and 11 is exclusive to the 1914 Club; you can’t get these things anywhere else, so if you want them, I suppose you’ll have to befriend a member of the club to get them for you. If you do know someone who has one of the “Bunker Suites” (photos 20-23), members who pony up extra for those suites can get four guest passes per game, for anyone who has a ticket to that particular game.
They’ve paid great attention to detail here; photos 6 and 7 show a brick wall that’s right inside the club entrance. Quite a number of original Wrigley bricks were saved when some walls were demolished (example, the original outer bleacher wall) and have been placed in these brick walls. The darker-colored bricks shown are the original ones.
The numbered lockers shown in photo 14 are reminiscent of old-style post office boxes. They are designed for club guests who buy merchandise, or who have other things they want to store while at their seat, and who don’t want to take them up to the game with them.
There are two stairways (photos 13 and 26) leading up to the seating area. You wind up in one of the concrete walkways that lead from the main concourse to the seats, and then find your section. For guests at the club who need assistance, there’s an elevator leading to these walkways.
The Cubs here, as they have for every other segment of the restoration/expansion of Wrigley Field, gone first-class. The workmanship and attention to detail in this club make it among the top such destinations in baseball.
Many thanks to Alyson Cohen and Julian Green of the Cubs for including me on this tour.