Club LeConte Announces Closure After More Than 40 Years

The following notice was sent to Club LeConte members early Friday evening. The club will close its doors October 16 and hopes to be able to relocate. Sitting atop the First Tennessee Plaza Building, the club has served as a meeting place for some of the best known Knoxvillians for decades. Founded in 1979 by ClubCorp, BNG Hospitality Group has owned and operated the club since August 2018.

I spoke with Shawn Laney with the membership group who said it was simply the only viable alternative at this time. They would like for another path forward to present itself, but it has not to this point. He said that they understand the situation will turn eventually, but simply didn’t feel they would be able to sustain the club in the interim.

Here’s the email:


Dear Valued Club LeConte Member,

The Covid 19 Pandemic has no doubt affected all of our lives in one way or another. We hope that you and your family are healthy and staying safe during this time. I am writing to update you on a few important matters regarding Club LeConte . First, I would like to thank the Board and all Club Members for their continued support of the Club.

I need to share some news that was recently shared with me and the Board of Governors. Over the past eight months, the Club has been dramatically affected due to the historic downturn in world economy. Not unlike many other businesses represented in the Membership and private club sector, the Club’s overall revenues are off significantly. The forecast going forward looks grim.

The Club ownership has been working hard focusing on multiple ideas and plans with alternative operating structures and options to maintain the Club’s long term viability to survive this downturn however the Club has found itself unable to meet all obligations. Therefore, after exhaustive considerations, the Club will unfortunately close after more than four decades of business and relationships.

The last day of business in the current location will be Friday, October 16, 2020. The club ownership will continue to seek alternative locations for the club over the next few months in hopes of potentially relocating the club to a new location and will keep the membership posted on the progress. This closure will not be easy for our valued Employees and Members. The leadership will assist in identifying new opportunities for our Employees. In addition, we have an opportunity for the Members.

BNG Hospitality has worked diligently to find an appropriate and economically viable option for Club Members who would like to continue their membership and continue to enjoy the ClubCorp network. Members will have a one-time opportunity to transfer their Membership to the Crescent Club in Memphis with a non-resident membership status. This Membership will provide full ClubCorp Signature Gold benefits including complimentary dining and golf fees at participating Clubs.

To implement this change, beginning October, the Club will reduce dues billing for all members to only $50. If you choose not to continue your Membership and take advantage of this special program, you will need to ask the Club to opt out of this program and you will be credited any October dues. Additional information and a full outline on all benefits regarding this program along with what action you will need to take, will be communicated separately in the coming days.

Club LeConte has experienced a long and proud tradition in Knoxville and we can assure you this was not a decision made lightly. While these times create difficulties, they also open the doors to opportunity. It is this spirit that we remain hopeful and positive about continuing our relationship with you and you continuing your benefits of Membership through the Crescent Club. I ask that all Members continue to support the Club as its works through this unfortunate situation and hope you all remain diligent in your personal efforts to stay safe.


Wayne Gildroy
Chair Board of Governors



  1. I took this news like a punch to the gut. My wife and I have had so many memorable experiences at the Club beginning with our wedding reception when we had Wendel Werner play for us. I hold out a slim hope that some prominent Knoxvillians, who appreciate the tradition behind the Club, might come to the rescue.

  2. …wow.

  3. Covid and the restrictions on gatherings has made it difficult, afraid this is one of many to come closures in our city.

  4. Ragnar Benson says

    It’s antiquated anyways.

    • Some might use the term traditional. Sad thing, even though I haven’t been there in a few years and let my membership go about 8 or 9 years ago from non-use. Hosted a wedding reception there and a few other smaller events. I hate to see it go.

  5. Diahn Oakley says

    heartbreaking. Friends, faces, memories, sunsets, parties, dressing up and feeling young and special, the staff, the chef. Especially so many already gone from there like Tommy who taught me all about blues, and those retired or moved to Dallas. Here’s to the best of days

  6. I always wanted to go there. I don’t think they let people like me in there though. I wish them the best.

  7. I’ll always miss the days when I was a member and Omar was the Maitre’d. I courted my wife at Club LeConte. I tasted my first single malt Scotch there. This hurts.

  8. I got to visit the club last year for a young professional event and I had a feeling the club wasn’t long for this world. I don’t mean this as a slight but these kind of clubs seem like a relic from a bygone era. There was a time when club leconte was probably the only restaurant worth visiting downtown which made people want to pay the fees and such. Now this is not the case as there are tons of great places downtown that are not charging a membership fee. Amazing views can only get you so far.

  9. Michael McNeely says

    I was a member there for yrs … I have really fond memories of the 80’s there … I’m sad that this is happening’mm

  10. Sad affair.

  11. When irrational fear grips the nation and, here locally, the unelected folks who care nothing for the livelihood of our friends and family, this is the result. It’s said to see that the good of the many is being destroyed by the selfish fear-mongering of the few.

    • Ward McMillan says

      if all the ACTUALLY irrational folks who wanted to open things up too early, and didn’t want to follow ANY guidelines that would have allowed us to DO so properly had done what the science recommended, we might have been past such mandates and closures by now, but every week/month you continue to fight against it just adds even MORE time we all have to cut back… cutting off our noses to spite our faces,,,,

  12. Douglas Bardorf says

    Sorry to hear of its closure. I worked there from 1982 to 1990. Greatest job I ever had. Greatest bunch of co workers you could ask for….Bob Smith, Sherra Sowards,Mary Ellen Maccaan, Harold Sherrod,Tommy Wilson and so many more. Of course I will never forget our leader Chef Zimmerman.

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