It's not easy being a proper, old-guard dining club in the unbuttoned 2000s.
The Vesper Club, founded in 1941 and run over the years by the Tyrell and later the Harron families, earlier this year sold its landmark building on Sydenham Street (the alley between 15th and 16th) between Walnut and Locust Streets. The purchase price in January 2012 was $1.65 million, according to city documents.
The Vesper, which years ago was the Friday night dining destination of Frank Rizzo, was on a month-to-month lease with the buyers, who own Misconduct Tavern adjoining the property. Over the summer, the Vesper Club board emailed its members that Misconduct, seeking to expand, had broken through to the Vesper kitchen to increase the food-preparation capacity. This presented a challenge to Vesper's staff. The Vesper decided that moving was a viable option.
The Vesper recently moved its functions across the street to the Racquet Club. The Vesper name remains. Vesper members also have access to the Racquet Club's newly renovated guest rooms and smoking areas.
Now the Misconduct owners are exploring options for the Vesper building, including a sale.
Misconduct has retained SSH Real Estate's J. Ward Larkin to find a use for the almost 7,000 square feet of club/restaurant space (with potential rooftop deck or addition) for a complementary user. This property could also include office or multi-family development, SSH says. The listing describes the building, at 223 S. Sydenham St., as currently configured as a supper club with three bars, 300-plus seats, and fire capacity of 400-plus. The listing says a lease/management agreement is possible at $300,00 annually, triple-net.