Brian Waldman was sitting one evening in the driveway of his condominium visiting with neighbors Cameron and Stephanie Murg. The two homes have garages facing each other.
“We’re sitting there having beers in our garage. A buddy of mine loaned us his Challenger. And we were like, wouldn’t it be cool to have a fun little cruising car. But we had no place to park it.”
Shortly after an idea hit them. Why not create a communal space where members could come and hang out and have the chance to cruise some amazing classic cars?
It was out of that idea which came Garage 77, part 70s retro-themed private club space and part classic car club. But what they really created is a dream garage for members to share.
With an annual fee, members can use the space for events and have access to seven rotating sports cars including an 87 Ferrari, 59 Corvette and a DeLorean.
“We really want the experience to be like it's their space,” said Waldman, a stock trader. “It's a communal space, it’s unstaffed. Some people call it a third space.”
Membership is limited to 30 people for a yearly fee. The club, located on Pacific Coast Highway near the Redondo Beach Police Station, the site of former used car dealership Classic Cars, so far has 10 members signed up after opening earlier this year.
Each member receives access to the cars based on a point system. After they run through the allotted points for the year, they must pay extra. Other than that, the entire membership is all-inclusion. To host a party, members only have to pay for cleaning, not a rental fee.
Stephanie Murg, who along with her husband Cameron partnered with Waldman on the business, said the idea sounded a lot like a rec room similar to what she was used to in the Midwest.
“In the Midwest you have basements and rec rooms,” Murg said. “So, we created this concept where you can just come and it's an extension of your South Bay lifestyle.”
Stepping through the threshold at Garage 77, you are transported to the 1970s. Transparent sphere chairs hang from the ceiling. A row of vintage pinball machines lines the walls, and there’s a Ferrari in the main room. An 8-track player with a collection of cassettes rests on the shelf along with a record player and a stack of vinyl. There’s even a back room with dimmed lighting that’s furnished with shag carpeting and retro wallpaper.
For Alex Smith, the club serves as a great place to host a party, two of which the realtor has held already since becoming a member.
“This is such a fun place to bring people for the novelty,” Smith said. “I’ve had people tell me this was the best place to hold a party they had ever seen.”
As opposed to renting a private meeting space at a restaurant or a yacht club, at Garage 77 Smith said he controls the show.
“This is a completely novel concept where people can partition themselves and do the things they want,” Smith said.
Waldman said he hopes the club becomes a place that families will enjoy. Waldman who has a wife and two children, finding time to go out can be tough.
“We don't want to go to North End all the time. It's lined up. It's crowded. My partner entertains clients sometimes and needs a place to go before or after dinner,” Waldman said. “If we have this demand, we felt there is easily 30 people in the South Bay with similar needs.”
If the concept is successful, Waldman said the partners will consider expanding to Venice or Santa Monica.
“I like nostalgia,” Waldman said. “I think it's a powerful feeling, and I think there's a need for this."