The Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at San Francisco international airport brings Virgin’s trademark chic and swanky vibe to the Bay Area. Despite operating just a few flights a day from San Francisco, the British airline remains true to its reputation and runs a spectacular club with an unparalleled array of services and amenities.
The Clubhouse is located in International Terminal A, immediately after the security checkpoint. (Initially located outside security, the club was retroffited in 2018 with airside access.)
The Clubhouse welcomes Virgin’s Upper Class guests and Flying Club Gold members, China Eastern premium passengers, as well as Air France La Premiere (First Class) passengers (Air France’s business class customers receive access to the Air France Lounge.)
Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse SFO design
The Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at San Francisco airport brings a slice of the British airline’s design ethos to the Bay Area. The surprisingly small lounge is a far cry from Virgin’s sprawling flagship clubs at London airports, but it delivers a unique experience that sets the Clubhouse apart from other airline lounges.
Situated in a prime location in Terminal A, the Clubhouse benefits from a long window wall and boasts gorgeous views of the tarmac and the hills in the distance. Colorful mobile glass panels filter sunlight while casting playful hues onto the swanky interior, and can be adjusted to create the perfect mood.
With light background music, hardwood wall paneling, designer furniture, and an effusion of colors, the ensemble is vibrant and resolutely modern, yet relaxing and tasteful, in an image of the city by the Bay. Touches of red make a bold statement and underscore Virgin’s brand without detracting from the overall balance of the ensemble.
The sparse but effective furniture arrangement caters to solo and group travelers alike. On the far left of the lounge when entering are booths with round dining tables for two. Next to the window is a seating area with clusters of seats ideal for small groups. The informal arrangement with oversized chairs, stylish coffee tables, and floor-standing lamps, creates intimate small living rooms within the larger space. On the right side is a more traditional and compact dining zone, along with another plush seating area. If work is on the mind, the dining tables provide a comfortable environment.
The well-stocked bar stands out as the centerpiece of the design. The tinted glass shelves highlight an impressive collection of wines, liquor and spirits. Look carefully and you may spot a bong, which was brought by Sir Richard Branson himself. He allegedly received it as a gift while signing a deal, and left it at the Clubhouse as a souvenir on his way home.
Across the bar, facing the window, is a series of egg chairs, which solo travelers may favor for a more private space.
The trendy décor is already fifteen years old—which would hardly be noticeable if it weren’t for the overall unfortunate lack of power outlets. The lounge is still in a pristine shape, and most of the furniture was recently refreshed. Best of all, it’s truly unique, and a welcome departure from the typical airline clubs.
Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse SFO amenities
The spectacular food and beverage offering is at the epicenter of the Clubhouse experience.
The Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at San Francisco airport does away with the traditional buffet, in favor of a full-service restaurant with table service. The approach is bold and challenging, as passengers may prefer a quick snack in lieu of a formal sit-down dinner. Others may come in too late to have a chance to experience the generous menu. We had a chance to observe the service and were impressed with the polished delivery. The kitchen typically delivers meals in less than ten minutes, thanks to a menu selection which balances quality with preparation time. All patrons may therefore enjoy a bite, regardless of the length of their visit. The service is personal and elegant, yet genuinely friendly and unpretentious. The restaurant-style service doesn’t detract from the traditional airport lounge experience, and patrons will feel comfortable eating while working or socializing.
The menu features a selection of appetizers, hot entrees, and desserts, with a good mix of comfort food and healthier fare, and plenty of options for vegetarian guests.
The meals are beautifully plated and served with genuine grace and attention to detail by white-cloth bearing servers. Our soup was poured at our table, in a classy touch. We thoroughly enjoyed the salmon, which came in a bamboo steaming basket and was moist, flavorful, and cooked to perfection. Our drink came on a red napkin echoing accents of the space, in a nod to Virgin’s brand. When we visited, the Chef was roaming the room, greeting patrons as in a fine dining establishment.
We were wondering about the intricacies of the service and had a chance to meet with the Chef, who gave us an enthusiastic backstage tour. Virgin Atlantic has chosen Sodexho as their caterer. The Chef supervises both food preparation and table service. In a closet-sized kitchen, his team performs an intricately choreographed ballet. All meals are prepared on site from fresh ingredients and plated with millimetric precision. While the kitchen was designed closed to 15 years ago for a single flight, the staff now serves up to three flights a day with menu rotations on a quarterly basis. Even Emirates, who usually sets the standard, uses outside catering for hot meals at the Emirates Lounge SFO in lieu of an on-site kitchen.
On the drinks front, patrons enjoy a full bar with a large beer selection, local wines, Champagne, liquor and spirits—including a remarkable collection of 70 whiskeys. The soft drink menu is no less impressive, with barista-made coffee, a substantial collection of teas, fresh squeezed juices, and daily smoothies.
Adjacent to the reception area is a small business center equipped with a large work desk, two shared computers, a printer, and a variety of office amenities. Complimentary Wi-Fi is also available throughout.
The Clubhouse features four oversized unisex bathrooms with sinks and plenty of space to change. Two rooms double as shower suites. While compact and space-efficient, the design means that only two bathrooms remain available when both showers are occupied. Virgin Atlantic is toying with the idea of expanding bathroom space into the business center, which sees little use nowadays. For now, there may an occasional line at peak times.
The shower rooms are ultra-functional, and somewhat plain compared to the rest of the lounge. Towels are provided, as well as Cowshed products in wall-mounted dispensers.
Other amenities include a selection of international press, as well as a Virgin Galactic discovery station—for when you’re ready to book your next trip to space.
Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse SFO bottom line
The Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at San Francisco international airport is an outstanding lounge. With an eclectic but posh design, a complimentary full service restaurant with fresh cooked-to-order food, a remarkable beverage selection, showers, and exciting views, the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse earns one of the top spots in our ranking of all airline clubs at SFO, outranking other fine clubs such as the American Express Centurion Lounge, Delta’s new Sky Club or even the upper scale Emirates Lounge.
Traditionally reserved for First Class, the availability of a full-service restaurant is noteworthy for a business class lounge. But the key to the magic is the stellar team that delivers a friendly, polished, and speedy service. The staff members show true pride in their jobs, and are encouraged by a touch of friendly competition between Virgin lounges worldwide. In fact, several employees have had the opportunity to travel around the Virgin network in order to observe how other Clubhouses operate, and exchange best practices.
While the Clubhouse is on the small side, the access rules are strict—with a few specific exceptions for Virgin America passengers, Virgin does not accept pay-in guests or sell memberships. The club is therefore relatively quiet at all times.
Virgin Atlantic offers a full-service restaurant with table service. All items are complimentary. The selection is subject to change.
- Red pepper soup, brioche croutons
- Prawn summer roll, wweet chilli sauce
- Traditional green salad, truffle dressing
- Israeli couscous niçoise salad, baby artichokes
- Seared cod, cauliflower purée with an asparagus, tomato and basil dressing
- Pesto pasta, toasted pine nuts and shaved Reggiano parmesan
- Clubhouse burger, toasted brioche bread, marinated plum tomato, lettuce, dill pickle and your choice of potato or sweet potato fries – a vegetarian burger is also available
- Smoked blue cheese and organic beetroot flatbread, roasted hazelnuts
- Hot Reuben sandwich, corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, Russian dressing and rye bread
- Mango Sorbet
- Fruit salad, freshly cut seasonal fruits
- Artisan cheese selection, pear chutney and assorted biscuits
- Strawberry and peach shortcake with sweetened cream
21st Amendment Brewery - Opened in 2000 the 21st Amendment Brewery in San Francisco vowed to do things differently, raise a pint and celebrate
- Brew Free! or Die IPA, 7.0% abv – 70 IBUs
- Black IPA, 6.8% abv – 65 IBUs
- Hell or High Watermelon – Wheat beer 4.9% ABV – 17 IBUs
Anchor Brewing Company - Dating to the California goldrush of 1849, Anchor brewing is the longest operating craft brewer in San Francisco
- Anchor Steam – 4.9% ABV – 37 IBU’s
- Anchor Porter – 5.6% ABV – 40 IBU’s
Lagers, Pilsners and Ciders
- Samuel Adams – Boston – deep amber lager
- Stella Artois – Belgium – clear, pale yellow pilsner
- Stella Artois Cider – Belgium – dry Cider
- Heineken – Holland – pale, finely beaded lager
- Amstel Light – Holland – light pale malt lager
- Corona Extra – Mexico – pale lager
- St Pauli Girl – Germany – non alcoholic
Juices and smoothies
- Fresh squeezed orange juice
- Fresh organic apple juice
- Ocean Spray cranberry juice
- Ocean Spray pink grapefruit juice
- Dole pineapple juice
- Fresh fruit smoothies
Champagne and sparkling wine
- Monthuys Pere et Fils Brut Reserve, NV, France, 12.5% abv
- Mumm Napa Brut Prestige, NV, California, USA, 12.5% abv
- Valdo Prosecco, NV, Veneto, Italy, 12% abv
- Four Graces Pinot Gris, 2013, Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA, 13.3% abv
- Coppola Directors Cut Chardonnay, 2012, Russian River, Napa Valley, California, USA, 13.8% abv
- Vogelzang Sauvignon Blanc, 2010 Reserve, Happy Valley, Santa Barbara, California, USA, 14.2% abv
- Conundrum White Table Wine, 2013, California, USA, 13.50% abv
- Charles Krug Merlot, 2011, Napa Valley, California, USA, 13.70% abv
- Atlas Peak Cabernet Sauvignon, 2012, Napa Valley, California, USA, 14% abv
- Morgan 12 Clones Pinot Noir, 2012, Santa Lucia Highlands, Central Coast, California, USA, 14.2% abv
- Paso Creek Zinfandel, 2012, Paso Robles, California, USA, 14.60% abv
Port and Dessert wines
- Graham’s Reserve Porto, 19.5% abv
- Sandeman’s 10 year Tawny Porto, 20% abv
- Eos Late Harvest Moscato, 2012, 10% abv
- Caffe Trieste Italian Roast – San Francisco
Tea Forte teas
- English breakfast – Classic breakfast tea, full bodied, perfectly balanced, contains caffeine
- Earl Grey – Traditional Indian tea with a modern twist, contains caffeine
- Chamomile – Camomile flowers steep a calming, gentle, delicate brew, caffeine free
- Sencha – A fresh, delicate Japanese green tea, low in caffeine
- Citrus Mint – Subtle cool mint infused with bright citrus, caffeine free
Rare Imperial Collection
- Golden Monkey (Yunnan black tea) – Fragrant and full-bodied, rich with notes of malt and apricot
- Tie Guan Yin (Fujian oolong tea) – A smooth infusion with accents of sweet orchid and buttery nectar
- Long Jing (West Lake green tea) – A soft floral fragrance suggesting freshly cut grass and chestnuts
- White Darjeeling (Arya pearl white tea) – A delicate taste and exquisite fragrance with a flowery note of citrus
Over Ice Collection
- White Ginger Pear – A fine white tea with a ginger herbal tisane, low in caffeine
- Raspberry Nectar – Red hibiscus, succulent raspberry and a hint of blackberry, caffeine free
- Blood Orange – Moro sweet blood orange presents a sweet-tart and refreshing tea
You may have access to Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse as a premium customer of one of the following airlines, or as an elite member of their frequent flyer program. Check the Access rules tab for more details.
Access for eligible customers traveling on the following SkyTeam member airlines only.
Air France (AF) China Southern (CZ) Delta (DL)
Fiji Airways (FJ) Virgin Atlantic (VS)
The following passengers have access:
- Virgin Atlantic Upper Class passengers departing on a same-day flight (+1 guest)
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Gold members departing on a same-day Virgin Atlantic flight (+1 guest)
- Delta SkyMiles Diamond, Platinum and Gold Medallion members departing on a same-day nonstop flight to the U.K. that is operated by Delta or Virgin Atlantic (+1 guest)
- Air France La Premiere passengersdeparting on a same-day flight
- 4.5Based on 24 ReviewsD B.2018-05-29 21:08:42If you have an opportunity to check out the Virgin Atlantic clubhouse while waiting for a flight at SFO, be sure to do so. It's so much nicer to sit and...Vincent L.2017-04-10 03:31:14This lounge might not rank near the top in a global sense, from what I've seen of blinged-out Middle Eastern airline lounges, but it's certainly by far the...Tristan L.2016-02-08 20:39:24A very swanky lounge with a full menu, table service and friendly staff. The layout of the lounge is split into 3 sections, 2 side seating areas with larger...
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