Not far from the former estate of renowned Renaissance man Thomas Jefferson, Common House is a new social club that would have certainly pleased the past president. Opened on May 17 in Charlottesville, Va., the members-based enclave is for erudite locals looking to foster a communal sense of creativity amidst a backdrop of cocktails, fine cuisine, and a host of hotel-like amenities.
Founded by University of Virginia graduates Josh Rogers, Derek Sieg, and Ben Pfinsgraff, Common House sits on the site of what had been Mentor Lodge, a club built in 1913. Today’s 7,000-square-foot version—designed by the team at Wolf Ackerman—comprises a multipurpose event space, a networking lounge, a library, two game rooms, a meeting room, a roof terrace, and a dining venue.
A brass-key entry leads to the ground floor’s Chef’s Counter—a gourmet brasserie—and Vinegar Hall. The latter offers open work areas reserved for members during the day, but the event space can be rented by the public in the evening. Facilitating flow from floor to floor, an oak staircase leads to Social Hall, the epicenter of club activity. The hall enhances its warm welcome with a double-sided fireplace, banquettes, and a full-service bar accented with wood charred in Japan’s shou sugi ban technique.
The upper level also holds: the tiled Tea Room, a natural light–infused haven for meetings; the Library, lush with ubiquitous books along with group and individual seating; and both the Billiards Room and Bridge Room to bolster camaraderie through traditional table games. Capping it all off is a 2,000-square-foot Roof Terrace with 360-degree views that include Monticello, Jefferson’s historic home.
Common House also presents its Common Knowledge series of artisanal and entrepreneurial workshops, as well as the Bridge Room Sessions where rising musical talent takes center stage. Additionally, members have Saturday-access to the Blue Ridge Swim Club—a 100-yard pool of spring water flanked by forest—during the summer. And for fans of film, a monthly movie night features screenings of the classic and rare paired with a thematically appropriate alcoholic beverage.
While diversity is celebrated at Common House, membership must still be approved and comes with a one-time initiation fee of $600 per person, and annual dues of $150. For those living at least an hour away by car, the rate is reduced to $500 and $50, respectively. There is also a discounted cost for couples.