There's a hidden speakeasy at the U.S. Open this year -- Here's how you can get inside
If you've been fortunate enough the visit the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in the past 26 years for the U.S. Open, it's been nearly impossible to not notice the large presence that American Express has over the venue, from pop-ups to perks to branded merch.
But at an event that's as large and lively as the U.S. Open, it's hard to keep track of all of the benefits that Amex has to offer its Card Members and avid tennis fans alike.
Bess Spaeth, Senior Vice President of Global Brand & Experiences at American Express, spoke to Amex's longstanding partnership with the USTA and the U.S. Open:
"We’ve been a partner with the USTA for 26 years which we think is amazing. There are some things that we bring back year after year because they are fan favorites and and we know people really rely on them here — like the beautiful Card Member lounge, the in-ear radios, our spend offer.
We’re always looking (in any of our partnerships) to find people who feel the same way about our customers as we do and really think about them first and foremost. The USTA has been a wonderful partner in the way that we both care so much about our shared customers who are all super passionate about tennis. If you start with the customer together, then everything you grow out of that is going to be terrific. We’re trying new things every year to keep it fresh and still keep some things consistent over time."
As always, Amex will be offering a slew of perks for Card Members of all levels, including the beloved Card Member Lounge where Card Members and up to three guests can enjoy hair and makeup services by Glamsquad, sneaker cleanings by Jason Markk and have access to an exclusive frozen version of the tournament's most Instagram-able drink -- the Honey Deuce!
But this year's standout perk goes to Platinum and Centurion Card Members only -- A hidden speakeasy on the grounds of the tournament itself.
Upon entering the Centurion Suite, Card Members can pull the magic labeled book on the giant bookcase and enter the secret bar where they can grab a drink from the mixologist and take in the refined, old-school decor.
This speakeasy is only a preview of what Amex has in store for Centurion members in the year to come, Bess Spaeth, Senior Vice President of Global Brand & Experiences at American Express, explained:
“This is our second year with the Centurion Suite over in Louis Armstrong [Stadium] and what’s special this year is that we’re giving our Platinum and Centurion members a sneak peak of what’s to come at our new Centurion Lounge at JFK — it’s a speakeasy-inspired bar called 1850 and you can find your way inside and order our signature cocktail, the Centurionside, from our mixologist who works with all of our Centurion Lounge Network, Jim Meehan."
Similar cocktails (like the U.S. Open's gin-based Centurionside) created by Meehan and the same 1920s-inspired space will roll out at the Centurion Lounge in New York's JFK airport in Terminal 4 upon its grand opening in 2020.
And though lounge access is only available to Platinum and Centurion Card members, all fans -- Amex Card Members or not -- will be able to visit the American Express Fan Experience at this year's U.S. Open.
“This is an event that people come back to year after year and we always have to keep it fresh. So this year, we were inspired by being in our own backyard here in New York City and really tried to bring New York to life through the Fan Experience. It’s a highly immersive experience where you can journey through the space … we have Borough Ball which is our life-size version of pong, you can spray paint digital murals created by a great local artist who we partnered with … we’ve got a great Subway experience and Rally Remix where you make your own tune based on different aspects of different boroughs and things so we’re really excited — I think it’s one of the most impactful experiences we’ve had here yet."
Take a look through the immersive, massive American Express Fan Experience below:
The Fan Experience is rural, lively and loud -- in true New York City fashion.
And though Spaeth can't pinpoint one particular part of the Fan Experience that she loves most, there is one stop both Spaeth and one tennis legend would definitley recommend stopping by:
"I've been really excited by the digital murals — I’ve never seen anything like that before and it’s a really fun integration that blends together real life and digital art all in one place. We have a really awesome mutual of Venus Williams who’s a fantastic partner of ours. And she came in earlier and was spray painting her own mutual and it’s just really fun — you really can unleash your inner artist."