Marquee Club presented by Lexus, Fox Theatre, Atlanta
David Ploski, club manager, and Rob Chaffin, executive chef
Photo: Alive Coverage
Aiming high, all the way to the rooftop
The Marquee Club at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta has numerous physical assets that give it obvious appeal. The main level is adjacent to Peachtree Street, Atlanta’s famous, bustling thoroughfare, and large storefront windows provide a clear view of the absorbing scenes of the street. The windows also provide a tantalizing look inside to all theatergoers, ramping up the exclusive nature of the space, said Allan Vella, president and CEO of the Fox Theatre. The 14,000-square-foot, three-level club has a mezzanine level featuring a ceiling that mimics the theater’s blue-sky imagery, including sprawling stars, and offers a quiet, detached place for conversation while overlooking the main level. Three rooftop areas, including an outdoor terrace, provide striking views of the city’s skyline and the Fox’s historic marquee.
Vella said the customer reaction to the club “has been amazing.”
“Clients that also frequent SunTrust Park, State Farm Arena and the Mercedes-Benz Stadium state that our facility is on par with all the modern-day competitors,” Vella said. “We receive frequent compliments on the personalized service, the culinary experience, the top-shelf beverage options, and we’ve been told we have the best rooftop space in the city. The space from a standpoint of design, décor, and how it complements the theater has exceeded our expectations.”
The club, which cost $10 million to develop and can accommodate up to 500 people, is open for all theater events with memberships for Broadway subscribers, corporate clients and individuals, as well as offering single-show access. The club provides a premium space for an extensive preshow buffet, which varies depending on the season and event, and high-end beverage service with signature cocktails and the club’s own signature bourbon. Opened in May 2018, the club hosted more than 22,000 people in its first year.
Vella said the opening of the Marquee Club aligned with the Fox Theatre’s strategic plan to both preserve the Fox Theatre and “to create a grand sense of occasion and memorable experiences.”
“We realized that given the historic nature of the theater and some of the limitations that exist with maintaining a National Historic Landmark, we were not at liberty to modify the structure within the theater to create premium spaces,” Vella said. “However, we wanted our 90-year-old facility to keep pace with all the new venues dotting the Atlanta landscape and provide a premium experience for those guests seeking it.”
Making the space work came with structural challenges, Vella said. The original space was approximately 1 1/2 stories tall and had the original wood beams supporting the roof.
“Since that structure could not support what we envisioned, we preserved the four existing historic walls and built a new steel structure within it,” Vella said. “Hence, as our general contractor put it, ‘it was like building a ship in a bottle.’ That challenge combined with creating a décor for the new space that would complement an historic theater as elaborate as the Fox, was challenging. However, the architects and designers at Lord Aeck Sargent did an outstanding job.”
Vella said central to the Marquee Club’s initial success has been the work of staff to ensure the customer experience matched the potential of the space to entertain. David Ploski, Marquee Club manager, oversees the club’s day-to-day operations, and Rob Chaffin, executive chef, leads the culinary team. The club has approximately 20 staff members.
“We understand that the architecture and design of the theater and the design of the club often elevate one’s experience,” Vella said. “However, without follow-through by a great team, that experience will fall short every time.”
Vella said the club’s operators expected that it would get heavy use by audiences of the theater’s Broadway shows, but they have been pleasantly surprised that it also has attracted younger audiences attending rock concerts and other events. In collaboration with sponsor Lexus, the club also has drawn crowds on non-event days through activities such as yoga on the roof, a Father’s Day bourbon tasting and a viewing party for Atlanta’s Pride Parade. Vella said more creative ideas are in the works.
The club also had a starring role when Super Bowl LIII was staged in Atlanta, perhaps the highlight of its first year, Vella said.
“Seeing the club being utilized for the VIP reception of the Super Bowl LIII NFL Honors last year, and, in particular, areas of the club being used for the owner’s lounge, that was something we were very proud of,” Vella said.
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