You & Yours expanding to L.A.; owners taking over, updating historic Loma Club
The founders of the popular East Village urban distillery will open a second location at The Row DTLA and transform the bar and grill at Liberty Station’s 9-hole Loma Club into a trendy clubhouse
The owners of the East Village’s trendy You & Yours Distilling Co. are branching out, adding a second location in Los Angeles and taking over operations of the historic Loma Club golf course at Liberty Station.
You & Yours founders Laura Johnson and Luke Mahoney and their business partners John Levan and Oliver Mahoney aren’t expected to make significant changes to the walking nine-hole, par-3 course, which dates back to the early part of the last century. But starting Jan. 4, the partners will be giving the dated sports pub, rustic, 3,000-square-foot campground-like patio and basic food and drink offerings a hip upgrade.
“We’re going to elevate it, make it a proper country club with a modern flair,” said Levan, 34, who, as You & Yours’ creative director, is responsible for giving the urban distillery its contemporary design and branding.
Standing at the course’s fifth hole — which affords a sweeping view of the downtown San Diego skyline, the airport, Coronado Bridge and Mexico — Johnson on Wednesday said that while The Loma Club’s approximately 13-acre greens and fairways are known for being “very high-end,” the amenities need to be brought up to par.
“Think about the most beautiful country club you have ever been to and add what we’ve come to be known for: a space that’s aesthetically pleasing, that’s modern yet accessible, with elevated hospitality,” said Johnson, 28, a 2014 graduate of the University of San Diego. “We’re going to take what we do best and put our spin on it and do this course justice.”
Since You & Yours opened in 2017, San Diego’s first urban distillery to be headed by a woman has become known as much for its sophisticated, feminine style and trendy vibe as its distinctive craft cocktails and floral, citrusy Sunday gin.
A local and national media darling, You & Yours will be expanding to Los Angeles in late 2020, with a location at The Row DTLA. The revitalized downtown development has dozens of chic shops and eateries, along with office space but lost its high-profile anchor tenant, The Manufactory, just this week. The closing of the 40,000-square-foot restaurant and marketplace was blamed, in part, on meager foot traffic and anemic sales.
While that You & Yours project is still in the permitting stage, The Loma Club partners have already gotten their plans for the clubhouse overhaul past the strict guardians of Liberty Station’s historic preservation. On Thursday, they met with their architects to pore over design elements and a time frame for the build out. Work will be done in stages, so as not to disrupt players, said Luke Mahoney, 35, whose London-based cousin, Oliver Mahoney, 34, is also a partner.
Mahoney said the course is popular with everyone from Point Loma residents to couples getting married, local groups holding events and Point Loma High School golfers having regular tournaments there.
“We want The Loma Club to be a destination for everyone,” he said, “not just a place to play a quick round and then go have a beer. ... and we want to double down on the ties to the community.”
He and Levan have strong ties to the club, golfing there nearly every week. He and Johnson are also Point Loma residents.
Golf is in the foursome’s DNA, it seems. Oliver Mahoney is in the golf design business in London and his father is a golf pro. Johnson’s brother grew up with dreams of playing professionally.
“We even moved to Florida so he could play,” Johnson said. “I didn’t play because it was his thing, so this is the perfect one up on him,” she said with a good-natured laugh.
The partners are taking over the club’s operations from the hospitality firm Good Time Design, known for such bars and taverns as Moonshine Flats and Bub’s at the Ballpark. Good Time Design’s lease runs out at the end of the month. It had been running The Loma Club since 2014, when it was known as Sail Ho Golf Course. The name dates back to the early 1900s, when it was part of the Naval Training Center. The course underwent a historic renovation, led by local golf architect Cary Bickler, and was reopened for play in 2006.
Joe Haeussler, executive vice president of Pendulum Property Partners, the Irvine-based company that owns The Loma Club, cited Luke Mahoney’s forward-thinking approach as one reason why the partners were chosen to replace Good Time Design.
“Luke Mahoney, owner of You & Yours, has a track record of being a creative and successful operator of trend-setting hospitality operations in San Diego,” he said in an email. “This, coupled with his desire to invest to enhance the experience for golf and the restaurant, was a key factor in the decision. His passion for the course was formed from being a regular golfer at the course over the past few years. We look forward to having Luke and his team step into operation of the course and elevating the overall experience.”
Future plans under consideration for The Loma Club include adding a bar near the fifth hole and making the site more wedding-friendly. The club’s 12 employees will be kept on, with the group bringing in You & Yours chef Cecilia Valencia to make over the menu to feature classic country club fare with an upscale twist. New dishes will start rolling out in early February and are expected to include gourmet burgers, a contemporary chopped salad and a tricked-out club sandwich. Pop-ups with local chefs are also being planned.
The cocktail program will be upgraded, with San Diego brands represented.
“We’re a local provider, and we look forward to highlighting other local providers,” Luke Mahoney said.
One change not in the works: adding You & Yours canned cocktails to The Loma Club’s bar menu. They’re already on there.