Among the exclusive events surrounding the most exclusive athletic event in the world, Club Bud’s invitation-only Olympic parties are notoriously difficult to get into.
Club Bud is a creation of Budweiser and hosted 5 invitation-only parties during the Winter Games in Vancouver. Taking up temporary residence in the Commodore Ballroom in downtown Vancouver, the epicenter of most of the street festivities during the games, Club Bud has been promoted as a place to bump up against athletes and celebrities and party in the the 19,000-square foot venue. If you could get in, that is. Some tickets are given away to the public at Budweiser promotional events, but most tickets go to the U.S. Olympic Committee to distribute. All athletes are invited along with their credential. (Medals work, too). Even with lines stretching down Granville Avenue that would indicate otherwise, you had to be invited to get anywhere near the place.
Club Bud is very different than the Olympic hospitality houses across Vancouver and Whistler, that, while still difficult to get into, are usually festive, nation-themed parties. Bud is really just an exclusive nightclub. It is full of athletes, however, past and present, and we saw at least one medal. It’s not relaxed, but also not as pretentious as it would seem from the red carpet, with 3 bars, space to breathe, plenty of seating and a fake ski lift for a photo opps. Also, celebrities do stop by. You’ll also find classic American beer archetypes such as a body paint artist and Budweiser girls in tight outfits. Final thought: Go-Go dancers make me laugh, no matter what the context.
For all the Olympic glamour that comes with its red carpet, medal-winning athletes and an invite-only guest list, Club Bud’s sense of exclusivity seems to fade once you make it through the security check. Human statues, go-go dancers and decor that could have been inspired by a Coors can made me want to retreat to crowded Granville Street with the “normal people” — where there’s more diversity and celebration. However, the venue’s spacious design and dance floor does make it a perfect people-watching and celebrity-sighting spot.
Budweiser is the official beer sponsor of the U.S. Olympic Team through 2012.