Ladies Assemble at SF’s Coolest Social Club

02.27.2018 Arts & Culture
Marie Salcido
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Work. Sweat. Play.  

Such is the premise upon which The Assembly was built — a trifecta for the modern woman.

Since its inauguration in early January, the stunning, female-focused community in San Francisco’s Mission District offers its guests a luxury rarely found amidst the hustle and bustle of daily life and endless to-do’s.

“As soon as we started thinking about the space, we knew we wanted it to feel like an oasis, like you could step out of the city and into something special,” explains Molly Goodson, who co-founded the space with longtime friend and partner, Carnet Williams.

“We want you to feel safe, productive and taken care of, like nothing else you could find in San Francisco.”

An oasis is an apt description — housed in a former church, the light-filled space is exactly the kind of spot you’d want to start, spend or end your day. Infused with design-ey touches from visionaries like Sara and Rich Combs of the dreamy Joshua Tree House, and local female artists like woodworker Aleksandra Zee, neon artist Meryl Pataky and abstract painter Heather Day, The Assembly is filled with a kind of creative magic that promotes inward focus as well as a healthy dose of collaboration.

In this day and age, squeezing in a workout or maintaining a semblance of a social life whilst juggling a demanding work schedule often feels all but impossible. The Assembly aims to change that, offering a space that fulfills the whole person. Goodson, who has a background in content creation and a passion for wellness, says she tapped into the complexity of striking a balance during her early career in media, while working as an editor at Pop Sugar.

“With so many verticals — fashion, health, politics, entertainment — people look at women in media and think, ‘What exactly are you interested in?’ But I learned we’re all hybrid people, we’re more nuanced than that, and we can be interested in all of those things,” she explains. “The Assembly is a super hybrid space — a fitness studio, a place to hang out with friends, a place to participate in programming for your career or relationship; plus, it’s a beautiful space filled with art. I built something like this with myself in mind, hoping other people would want the same thing too.”

Cozier than your average co-working space (you won’t find conference rooms here), Goodson describes the vibe as a “coffee shop-plus,” thanks to the open, comfy seating, the assortment of refreshments (including local, female-roasted coffee from Lady Falcon Coffee Club and fresh juices and salads from SF-based Juice Shop), and the varied crowd of worker bees grinding away.

From freelancers to 9-5ers to busy moms squeezing in job duties between school drop-off and pick-up, The Assembly invites every woman to pursue their professional endeavors in an environment that feels cohesive and welcoming.

Thanks to four daily fitness classes, The Assembly also encourages budgeting for some necessary you-time. With the help of longtime friend (and Barry’s Bootcamp instructor), Tony Forte, Goodson and team have created a schedule of classes that are strengthening, challenging and interesting.

Among her favorites? ‘Stronger,’ the signature 45-minute class she designed with Forte, which is continually evolving and developing, keeping its focus on strength-training.

“I believe deeply that women should be doing more heavy lifting and strength training, so we’re not having trouble standing up when we’re ninety. I want to get more and more people used to doing that,” says Goodson, enthusiastically.

And when it comes to play, The Assembly is geared towards having fun in an environment that’s collaborative and personally-fulfilling.

“The social element is at the heart of this,” adds Goodson. “It’s a place to feel connected — to collaborate and bounce ideas off each other in a city that can, at times, feel isolating and alienating. So many places we go you’re trained to put blinders on, but here, you can take them off and allow for that social element to really happen naturally.”

Self-focus and personal growth are integral to The Assembly, but Goodson says community is of the utmost importance and has been the most fun to witness.

“It’s really cool to see how quickly connections are being made between people, and just the general excitement about something like this. So many of us live far away from friends and family,” she says. “And, as you get older, it gets harder to see them. I had this moment when I was thinking about this project and realized that even with my best friends in the whole world, seeing them just once a month feels like a good amount.”

Signing up for a monthly membership ($250/month) gets you unlimited use of the space, access to career, relationship and personal growth programming, four fitness classes (plus $5 additional classes) and an extended network of badass women to befriend, inspire and learn from.

“The moment I walked in, I knew it would be the space. You can really feel it was meant for a community to exist within, though it’s a different kind of community than it was built for,” Goodson explains. “When members join, they receive a letter-pressed card (designed by Oakland-based Western Editions) that says ‘Permission Granted.’ We want everyone to feel like they have permission to do whatever they need to do in order to feel good, to do something here that fills you up.”

And though membership is ladies-only, The Assembly invites men to visit as guests, take classes and participate in programming. As women fight for more respect and equal pay in the greater conversations of the world, true feminism promotes a meeting of minds and shared perspectives between both genders.

“It’s powerful and important for men to enter spaces that are female-forward and female-filled,” adds Goodson, “so that we can make sure they see it — and participate in it — as well.”

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