I’ve been a downtown resident for almost 17 years now, and I like to think that I know all the cool spots. I also work online, so as long as there’s wifi and coffee, I’m good to go. This means that a lot of spaces around DTLA can qualify as work locations for me, but not all of them are co-working spots. In my opinion to be a great spot for co-working a place needs to have a strong, vibrant and supportive community.
Of course DTLA has the classic places like WeWork, BlankSpaces and Cross Campus. There’s also IndieDesk, Opods, and CTRL Collective. All of them offer something a bit different, and depending on what you’re looking for (like if you need a photo studio), they might be a better fit than the place I’m about to suggest. However, none of them have the type of community that The Los Angeles Athletic Club does.
But wait.. “Isn’t that a gym?” is the usual response when I tell people I use it as my co-working spot. Well, yes it is, but it’s also SOOOO much more, and way more than almost all of the other places you might consider being a digital nomad at. First of all, it’s been around for over 100 years, 138 to be exact. When it was first founded, the entire city only had 11,000 people living here. ALL OF LA!! You can’t get that kind of history at any other co-working location. In the beginning, the club was men only, but those days are long gone, In fact, there’s a secret women's only co-working room called The Wave somewhere on the fourth floor (I’m not exactly sure where, no one’s invited me).
Second, unlike other places - The Club (as it’s called around here), has dozens of places to post up and get your work done. From an expansive rooftop to comfy couches, fireside or up at the bar, whatever mood you’re in, there’s a place for you to be. Whether you’re looking to be alone for a private call or in a lounge with a pool table and sports on the TVs, The Club has you covered.
Did I mention that it has three restaurants, two bars, a snack shop and a hotel? Getting fed, caffeinated, or drunk is never a problem at The LAAC. They’ve got a rotating menu of healthy options from quinoa bowls and poke AND burgers and lobster mac n cheese for when you feel like being bad. Their cocktail program is world-class and members are often invited to enjoy free drinks from local spirits purveyors.
Then of course there’s the gym. They’ve got everything you could POSSIBLY want. Machines and weights are great of course, but they’ve got an Olympic-sized swimming pool and a full basketball court as well. Not to mention the racquetball courts, squash, tennis on the roof and the dozens of free classes from yoga to pilates. When you’re all done working out, you can enjoy a locker room that puts the DTLA Equinox to shame. Whirlpools and saunas (yes plural), a steam room and massage services are just the beginning.
However, as great as everything I just mentioned is - it’s not what makes The LA Athletic Club the very best co-working spot in DTLA. It all comes down to the community here. Members stay for life. You might run into other cool startup founders at WeWork, but the people who financed them are hanging out at The Club. I’ve met and become friends with founders of Fortune 100 companies and random celebrities just by making The LAAC my work-home, and The Club works hard to foster these relationships. They host dinners with James Beard award winning chefs and 80s themed Valentines day parties. Jazz nights and stupid cheap happy hours. The Club has been owned and run by one family for five generations and you can feel their passion and caring in every corner, every drink poured, and every event. In fact, they’re here every day and if you’re a member for even a few months, you’ll get to know them and they’ll get to know you.
Last but not least - you get everything I just mentioned for 1/2 the price of every other place. I don’t even know why I’m writing this blog, I live in constant fear of everyone finding this secret spot and the rates finally going up to what they should be for this kind of value.
Hopefully you’re as awesome as everyone else here. Come say hi, you’ll find me on the 3rd floor, second table to the left from the bar, I’m the guy with the big smile on his face, probably chatting up another member over coffee or a beer.