We visited the elite San Francisco men’s club and clothing store where wealthy Silicon Valley and finance workers pay up to $3,000 just to get in

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Wingtip Club

Wingtip Club is an unusual store for an elite clientele.

Founded in 2002, the menswear store based in San Francisco comes with its own clubhouse, complete with a wine cave, barber shop, cocktail bar, and tailoring shop. It attracts mostly middle-aged men working in finance and technology, according to its founder, Ami Arad.

Wingtip Club charges monthly dues and a one-time admission fee of between $1,000 and $3,000, depending on the number of times a member wants to visit annually. It’s a pioneer among the handful of brands that pamper and offer places to socialize inside brick-and-mortar shops – a tactic to help them compete with popular online retail companies like Bonobos, Everlane, and Amazon. Even the retail giant Nordstrom is testing a tiny new store that doesn’t sell clothes.

Take a look inside Wingtip Club to see if it’s worth the price.


In a city where the workplace uniform is mainly hoodies and startup tees, Wingtip Club offers a touch of class to the tech and finance worlds. No sandals, no shorts, no service.

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Ami Arad is the founder and CEO of Wingtip Club.
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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

It’s not the only private club in San Francisco — the Bohemian Club, the Pacific-Union Club, the Olympic Club, and the San Francisco Golf Club blazed that trail more than a century ago.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

Wingtip Club opened its first San Francisco store in 2008 and piloted the clubhouse at a barbershop nearby in 2010. The two concepts combined at the current address in 2012.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle


The nascent Wingtip Club isn’t considered to be among the ranks of those superelite men’s clubs. What it lacks in old-school prestige it makes up for in amenities and broad appeal.

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Wingtip Club

Wingtip Club attracts a different crowd than most private men’s clubs in San Francisco. For starters, it has welcomed women since the beginning. It also draws a younger membership.

The century-old men’s clubs in the city have struggled for years to bring in youth, largely because it takes years for younger men to work their way up the waiting list.

Wingtip Club has about 900 members, with an average age of 45. Women make up about 11% of its membership.


Wingtip Club occupies four floors of the original Bank of Italy building, built after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. It’s divided into two areas: free to enter, and restricted.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

The ground-floor store is open to the public. It sells designer-label shirts, pants, sweaters, and accessories, ranging from ties and belts to Patagonia down vests and wingtip shoes.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

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Wingtip Club leases out parts of the space to brands that share its affinity for the “finer things in life.” Here’s Lost Cost Outfitters, the city’s only retailer of fly-fishing apparel.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

Check out Lost Coast Outfitters »


Master barber Joe Roberts works magic with a straight razor and clippers in a hidden barbershop. Clients can relax with a beer or whisky during their haircut or shave.

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Wingtip Club

See the prices at Joe Roberts’ barbershop »


A Carrara marble staircase takes guests downstairs to what was once Bank of Italy’s vault.

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Wingtip Club

Today, it’s home to tailoring shop 11th State Custom Clothiers. Founder Catherine Conway and her team create made-to-measure suits from over 3,000 luxury fabrics.

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Catherine Conway (center) is the founder of 11th State Custom Clothiers.
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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

Check out 11th State Custom Clothiers »


Clothiers takes numerous measurements, including posture reads and shoulder slopes, to ensure the perfect fit. It promises service that can’t be matched by department stores.

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Wingtip Club

A quick elevator ride whisks members to the top two floors, where the members-only clubhouse is. Staff knows most of the 900 members by name, so there’s no sneaking in.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

Wingtip Club has three tiers of membership based on the frequency of visits to the clubhouse.

A “visiting” membership includes five visits per year and costs $25 in monthly dues and a one-time membership fee of $1,200. The more frequent “social” membership allows six visits per quarter (24 times a year) and costs $125 in monthly dues and a one-time fee of $2,000.

The most expensive tier is the “regular,” named for how Arad, the founder, hopes members consider themselves when at the clubhouse. It includes unlimited access and costs $200 in monthly dues along with a one-time fee of $3,000.

All membership levels come with a 10% store discount.


A wall behind the front desk pays tribute to the founding members of Wingtip Club, whose names are written in shoelaces. The display features varieties of wingtip shoes.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

Members can take advantage of some amenities for free. Sennheiser, maker of the world’s most expensive headphones, leaves sets on loan for members to use.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

Here’s what $55,000 headphones sound like »


A lending library applies the “take a penny, leave a penny” approach to luxury watches. Members can borrow a wristwatch as long as they leave one of theirs behind.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

There were less than a dozen watches on the display when we visited.


Members can also check out ties, women’s scarves, and pocket squares for use in the club.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

At some of the men’s-only social clubs in San Francisco, conducting business is strictly prohibited because women don’t have access to those same opportunities, Arad said.

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Wingtip Club

At Wingtip Club, it’s encouraged. There are conference rooms available for meetings.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

Members can bring up to three guests to the clubhouse at any time without advance notice.


The wall of board of directors features Tony Stark (“Iron Man”), #2 (“Thunderball”), Miranda Priestly (“The Devil Wears Prada”), and Blake (“Glengarry Glen Ross”). Their portraits were done by Kevin Sprouls, creator of the Wall Street Journal portrait style known as hedcut.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

Additional meeting rooms are inspired by traditionally masculine tastes. The Tuxedo Room features plush leather chairs, chandeliers, and portraits of Frank Sinatra and James Bond.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

The Leather Room, which is outfitted with taxidermy busts, includes a two-way mirror that transforms into a monitor. Members can hook up their laptops and give presentations.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

Nearly every room is outfitted with liquor or a bar cart.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

Members can practice their game using the golf simulator.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

The penthouse floor provides an outdoor space for taking a meeting or a cat nap.

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Wingtip Club

It even has heated seats and parkas available to borrow on brisk San Francisco days.


The wine cave contains 2,000 bottles kept at the perfect temperature.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

Members have the option of renting a wine locker to store their wine behind lock and key.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

The crown jewel of Wingtip Club is the bar — a large, mahogany island with 25 seats around it. Members entertain guests over craft cocktails, a glass of wine, or a dram of whiskey.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

The drinks aren’t free, despite the fees attached to a club membership. Arad said part of the allure of drinking at a members-only bar is the exclusivity. Guests never have to cram into the bar area and shout a drink order. The bartender might even know their name and order.


Wingtip Club claims to own the largest collection of whiskey west of the Mississippi River.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

An in-house specialty food director orders rare cheeses and charcuterie from abroad.

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Wingtip Club

Wingtip Club brings together amenities in a place where men (and woman) are free to be “gentlemanly,” according to the brand. “If it had felt like a frat house, we would have failed miserably,” Arad said.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

Source: Wingtip Club


He added that because the clubhouse charges admission, he’s duty-bound to keep the experience fresh and inviting. Otherwise, he loses members to online retail giants.

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Wingtip Club

“Retail is changing fast. Amazon is eating people’s lunch,” Arad said. “If you want to survive, you better have something that Amazon can’t copy or do cheaper.”