The Lane Social Club
Ivy City's innovative spin on a traditional indoor play place
Local moms Molly and Rachel met on maternity leave, and the pieces began to come together for their future project, The Lane Social Club. While touring the available play places in the region, they quickly identified what they felt was absent and decided to create it. The missing element for these brainstorming moms is a place where not only can the children have fun, but so can their parents.
A kid's version of fun is letting loose and running free, and for their parents relaxing with good friends, food, and drinks at their disposal is the goal. This is the vibe that Rachel and Molly set out to create, and during our visit just a day before the doors opened, it seemed pretty obvious they nailed it.
The ambiance is clean and modern, yet warm and inviting. Splashes of texture and color accent the large room, from the floor materials to the mural, and even the brightly colored and antique-looking little scooter cars, which fit so perfectly. When I say color, I mean the optimal amount.
There is a serenity in the space that could never exist where planners only considered what is generally considered the aesthetic sensibilities of children. This is the first of many signs that the designers carefully considered the adult counterparts of the kids they are eager to welcome.
Kids obviously do not need excessive use of primary colors to identify a play area, and my children floated freely throughout the place with no hesitation. The available team members were incredibly easy to be around, engaging, warm and eager to see my children interact with the different elements of the design. They explored every inch of the open floorplan, which has amazing visibility from wherever you are but is laid out so well that it has a feeling of distinct regions.
The cafe area has a long L shaped bar with comfortable seats where parents can sit and chat over a variety of beverages and food options, including lattes, smoothies, beer, and wine. Breakfast items, sandwiches, salads, and snacks, as well as a cute kids menu, are all carefully selected. There are also comfortable hanging chairs that the kids and I loved, as well as traditional tables and chairs.
A toddler specific play area is tucked away, as well as a massive ball pit that is designed with built-in seating around the edge. A netted climbing structure hangs above and the kids can head up to it by climbing or just using the stairs. There is a giant twisting slide coming back down to the main level from the second floor. The reading nook with huge bean bag type seating is so cozy my five-year-old hopped right in and grabbed a book.
There will be storytimes and other scheduled activities during the week, as well as regularly scheduled special events throughout the year. Also, a unique feature that really makes The Lane stand out is the availability of a variety of rooms and packages for parties of different sizes. Adult and kid parties are welcome, and diverse package options include alcohol as well as a wonderful variety of cuisines. The clean and spacious restrooms are equipped with changing tables, and an elevator is easily accessible.
The Lane looks forward to hosting Parent's Nights Out, and restaurants and bars are popping up all over the neighborhood. Directly across the street is Kick Axe Throwing DC, which is just opening its doors as well, and is a great date night activity! Also across the street is Pidzza, a fresh and creative Turkish inspired pizza place. Union Market, Dolcezza Factory and the playground at Joseph H. Cole Park are also each just five minutes away.
Target is a block away and offers three hours of free garage parking. There was plenty of metered street parking adjacent to the building during our visit as well.