Fort Worth's quintessential city club is ready for a new era.

The mirrored elevator doors open, revealing the 40th floor of the 777 Main Street Skyscraper in Fort Worth.

The floor is the current home of the Petroleum Club, a Fort Worth institution where ranchers and roughnecks rubbed elbows with notable guests like Elvia Presley, Marilyn Monroe, Jimmy Stewart and the Bush Presidents, before paying respects to the Golden Goddess statue for luck
and heading out west to the oilfield.

A plaque of club members, affiliated organizations, and societies hangs to the left of the elevator in recognition of those who donated to the club's last renovation project in 2010. 

The interior of the club is as rich as its history, a mix of deep, marbled woods and glass-veiled views of the city skyline. 

Not far away is the club's old home, the Blackstone Hotel off Fifth Street, where it gained a charter in 1953 limiting them to oil and gas-affiliated members. 

"It was formed to be a networking hub for people in oil and gas," explains the club's general manager Steve Till. "There are fourteen or so Petroleum Clubs in the country, but we aren't affiliated with them other than by name and purpose."

Today, the energy industry has changed, becoming more inclusive as alternative sources of power have emerged and gained traction. Eventually, the Petroleum Club would also morph to fit a broader demographic, but more has changed than just the energy sources since 1953, society and American culture have too. 

"City clubs, specifically meaning dining and social networking clubs, are a 501 C7 business model with unique challenges, changes in work place protocol, face to face business climate now facetime and zoom calls; the ongoing corporate migration in and out of the downtown markets " explains Till. "Many members having multiple clubs, its comes to a reset of priorities. We had to rethink our model and adopted bylaws that allowed new people to join," says Till.

"Right now, we are about 60% oil and gas members, and 40% everything else you can imagine." The club's board members remain predominantly employed in the oil and gas industry.

"We think it's cool to stay rooted in oil, but we wanted to be more inclusive. Downtown residences are on the rise, and we want to tap into it and grow our younger members aged 35-40. There's a perception that if you aren't in the oil and gas industry you can't join."

To combat old perceptions of the club, the board decided to beef up its accessibility online, broaden amenities, and organize social events and entertainment with reciprocal clubs in other cities for traveling or commuting members.  

Amenities intrinsic to the club's Main Street location and fortieth-floor height include breathtaking views of Downtown Fort Worth. 

"What we have that nobody else has is our view," affirms Till. "It's breathtaking during the day but more so at night. The Skyline Room faces the sunset and overlooks Fort Worth Sundance Square and the Trinity River. The cigar patio looks towards Dallas and on a clear day, you can see the Dallas skyline."

Till explains that the club takes full advantage of its location whenever possible and describes how members enjoy the Trinity Park Fourth of July fireworks show at eye level. 

Other perks for members include a wine room and locker, access to an outdoor space and cigar lounge, dining halls, and bars, with a private chef on staff.

"Our liquor license allows us to serve liquor to-go," laughs Till. "And we are always looking for ways to serve our downtown clients, so we sell roadies during festivals and events downtown, and food delivery." 

The club also just hosted a Johnny Cash tribute show and is preparing for a Neil Diamond show. 

"We do a Good Fellas night because I'm from the northeast," he adds. "So, we throw a lot of events and holiday specials to create a fun and exciting environment."

Interested Fort Worthians can also join a networking society affiliated with the club that focuses on connecting members to the energy, medical, and government defense industries with three lavish events a year. 

The club is affiliated with many outside societies, most notably the Wildcatters Society, whose members helped the Petroleum Club raise donations for its most recent club upgrades. 

"We are looking to remodel again in the next year and a half," says Till. "To expand the climate-controlled indoor/outdoor spaces and give our members a different bar experience by expanding the current one to 20 seats and situating it in front of a killer view." 

Also on the horizon is a possible shout-out in the newest Taylor Sheridan project, "Landman."

"We are a part of Fort Worth culture," says Till. "We are stewards of its history and in the complex world we live in, there's a place for us here and our mix of nostalgia and modernity." 

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