Visit San Francisco's oldest building, an authenic Spanish-era adobe from the 1700s.
The Presidio Officers Club is San Francisco's oldest building, constructed in the 1770s by the Spanish.
There's so much to see here! Visit a fabulous Mexican restaurant, sit by the roaring fire in the grand Moraga Hall, learn about 10,000 years of local history at the Presidio Heritage Gallery museum, and explore the Mesa and Anza rooms that date back to 1776.
10 best things to do at the Presidio Officers Club
1. Learn how the Presidio Officers Club began as a Spanish army post in 1776.
The Presidio Officers Club was constructed in 1776 as part of a Spanish army post, to fend off claims from rivals Russia and the U.K. It was at the most northernmost point of the Spanish Empire in Alta California.
This army post later came under Mexican rule in 1821, then U.S. rule in 1846 when American soldiers captured the Bay area. The U.S. Army made changes to the adobe, before transferring it to the National Park Service nearly 150 years later in 1994.
2. Visit the beautiful Mesa Room from the 1700s.
As you pass through the entrance of the Presidio Officers Club, explore the oldest part of the building in the Spanish-era Mesa Room. When 200 Spanish soldiers and their families arrived in the late 1700s, they recruited Native Indians from the Coast Miwok and Bay Miwok tribes to build these adobe walls.
This Mesa Room has an incredible atmosphere, steeped in history. If only these walls could talk!
The three year renovation between 2011 to 2014 stripped back the alterations made by the U.S. army, to reveal the original 1770's adobe walls constructed from clay bricks.
The Presidio Officers Club is a very special place, and the site of San Francisco's very first building. It's only one of two Spanish-era buildings left in San Francisco. The other is Mission Dolores.
Archaeologists have made some incredible finds here, like fragments of pottery that Spanish Colonists purchased from Mexico.
3. See how the Mesa Room was used as U.S. Army headquarters in the 1800s.
The Mesa Room (above) was used as the Post Commander's Office in the 1880s by the U.S. Army. By this time, the Presidio was the biggest employer in San Francisco. The green clapboards around the fireplace were used to cover the original adobe walls.
From 1846 to the Philippine-American war in 1899, the U.S. Army tripled the size of the Presidio, building army barracks, a hospital, firing range, and wharf. They also created a windbreak by planting thousands of trees on what were previously sand dunes. These forests are still visible at the Presidio today.
4. Learn how the Mesa Room became an Officers' Club in the 1900s.
By the early 1900's the adobe was now utilized by the U.S. Army as an Officer's Club, with a major renovation taking place in 1934 to give it a Mission Revival look. The "O-Club" was a popular place for officers to relax during downtime, and the Mesa Room was used as an Officers' Billiards Room.
By the 1970s the Mesa Room then used as a television room used by Officers.
5. Visit the striking Anza Room.
The Anza Room is across the hallway from the Mesa Room, one of two rooms that survived the Spanish colonization. It can now be rented as a function room, seating 36 people.
6. Hang out at stunning Moraga Hall, the social center of the Presidio Officers Club.
The Moraga Hall is the main living room of the Presidio Officers Club, and was once the social hub for officers of the U.S. Army where dances and events were held. The Officers were in great company, entertained by Old Hollywood celebrities like Veronica Lake, Bob Hope, and Joan Crawford. Check out the historic black and white photos on the walls, capturing some of these fun events.
An incredible job was done during the 1930s restoration to bring this room back to life, and you can see the Mission Revival elements, like the dark heavy beams distressed to look old, white stucco walls and ceilings, and iron chandeliers.
Today visitors are welcome to sit by the fire in lobby, and soak up the tremendous history and atmosphere. You can also peek out the front windows for Bay views. This hall is simply gorgeous, and can be rented for events.
7. Dine at the Colibri Mexican Restaurant
The restaurant is next door to the Presidio Officers Club, housed in the old kitchen. This room was part of the massive three year restoration project, and has a delicious Mexican menu, serving yummy drinks like margaritas, agave flights, cocktails, beer and wine. There's also a kid's menu.
You can also sit at the open air courtyard outside the restaurant, with peep-through views of the Bay.
8. Visit the free Presidio Heritage Gallery.
The free Presidio Heritage Gallery is at the back of the building, with exhibits covering the last 10,000 years of history at the Presidio.
There's some indepth information, artifacts and photos from the U.S. Army occupation starting in 1846.
The exhibition also has a strong focus on the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII, when the Presidio was at the epicenter of the Japanese exclusion policy.
In 1942 President Franklin Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, facilitating the removal of Japanese Americans from California, Oregon and Washington State. The Western Defense Command at the Presidio, led by Commanding General deWitt, implemented this Executive Order by issuing a total of 108 exclusion orders. Japanese Americans were given mere days to pack up and leave their homes, only able to take whatever they could carry.
9. See the names of thousands of Japanese interred during WWII.
The glass walls outside the Presidio Heritage Gallery, display the names of 120,000 Japanese interred during WWII. Many families have found relatives on this deeply poignant wall.
10. Explore other nearby attractions at the Presidio.
The Presidio Officers Club is located at the Main Post at the Presidio, the heart of the Presidio's cultural activities. It's also within walking distance of other must-see attractions, like the Presidio Visitor Center, Walt Disney Family Museum, and walking trails. You can also stay nearby, at the Inn at the Presidio.
Know before you go