Miami Beach’s oldest surviving public building, most recently called the Miami Beach Municipal Golf Course Clubhouse, has been restored as the Carl Fisher Clubhouse along with an adjoining annex building as part of the Miami Beach Convention Center complex.
The clubhouse, opened originally in 1916, and the annex, opened in 1937, have been restored as a single entity by R.J. Heisenbottle Architects and now host a restaurant and meeting space.
Under the management of Spectra Venue Management, the 5,000-square-foot clubhouse offers public parking and public transportation accessibility on Washington Avenue. The new Rum Room restaurant and Venu meeting space opened this year in the restored structures.
The city in 2021 said that Centerplate, the convention center’s food and beverage manager, “has a grand and creative design to return the historic buildings to the community with imaginative culinary ideas and programming.”
The city that year voted to approve an extension of Spectra’s convention center lease by 18 months and gave the company control of the clubhouse, Collins Canal Park and Pride Park. An additional $75,000 per year, a memo from City Manager Alina Hudak said, would be added if the item were approved for the management of the additional properties.
“Having Spectra manage all these assets and facilities,” said Director of Tourism and Culture Lissette Garcia Arrogante at the time, “would really bring synergy to the management of the entire campus.”
Spectra, the manager’s memo said, has managed the Convention Center since 2013.
The restoration of the Carl Fisher Clubhouse, said city spokesperson Melissa Berthier in December 2020, “connects two structures with an open patio space, refreshes the inside components with modern amenities and current technology, and refurbishes the façade and surrounding spaces.”
Interior improvements, she said, include new air conditioning, electrical power, fire alarms, lighting, plumbing systems and an upgraded kitchen.
“Exterior improvements,” she continued, “include fine grading, landscape, FPL conduit installation, irrigation and walkways, as well as the installation of provided site furnishings.”
The clubhouse was constructed in 1916 for flamboyant promoter Carl Fisher, the developer of Miami Beach, and was designed by August Geiger, a prolific Miami architect.
Records from the time say “the clubhouse was designed in an eclectic revival style with Spanish and Dutch Colonial elements.”
The City of Miami Beach brought in the Heisenbottle firm in 2016 to restore the clubhouse after years of neglect. In 2018, the city approved clubhouse renovations for more than $3.2 million.
“It’s a great historic building in Miami Beach that can continue to be enjoyed by generations to come thanks to its new use,” Mr. Heisenbottle said in a written release.
That use is Venu, which the Heisenbottle firm describes as “a newly renovated space for elegant private events and upscale meetings” in the clubhouse and the Rum Room, in the annex building, “a 1920s restaurant with an enticing tapas-style menu and local South Florida rums.”