Brian Nagele, of Philly2night.com and the Piazza restaurant Kings Oak, is putting the finishing touches on his new North Shore Beach Club, a 21-plus pool-bar combo taking the place of the defunct Arrow Swim Club in Northern Liberties. The revamped members-only swim club and an adjacent restaurant open to the public, the Cuban-themed Havana Room, are slated to open the first week of May.
The pool area is getting a cosmetic upgrade with a luxurious South Beach vibe. "I want it to feel like an escape from city living," says Nagele.
Meanwhile, some NoLibs neighbors are hoping it won't be such an escape that pool-goers forget they're in a residential area.
"We had so many headaches with the place," says Matt Ruben, president of the Northern Liberties Neighbors Association, referring to Arrow Swim Club last summer. The problem, Ruben says, was that with the $1,000 membership fee and the no-kids policy, Arrow could not attract enough members, so it started throwing parties open to the public.
"People who were never going to be members coming in for a $10 all-you-can-drink party are not going to care about the impact to the surrounding neighborhood," he says. "And if you bought a membership and all of the sudden every weekend there's a bunch of young people running around, throwing up outside -- that's bad for members and for the neighborhood."
Nagele is hoping to avoid that scenario. He slashed the price to $500, overhauled the sound system to combat the noise issue and is promising no wild parties.
"Last year some events brought in people who maybe didn't care about the reputation of the pool," Nagele says. "We're definitely going to have events for our members, like a luau, maybe bring in some special entertainment, but the crazy drunken fests -- we're not doing that."
Get in line
About 500 members have already signed up, with a majority coming from the immediate area, Nagele says. Newcomers will go on a waiting list. "I'm not sure if 500 is enough, or too much," he says. "We'll see how it goes the first week or two."
Hit the beach
Along with the pool, lounge chairs and umbrellas, North Shore Beach Club members get access to:
An upper-level sundeck
Poolside food and drink service
Ping pong tables
Locker rooms with showers