Get ready to sweat: 6 new high-end fitness centers are coming to Berkeley

An example of one of Cyclebar's "theaters." Photo: CycleBar
An example of one of Cyclebar’s ‘cycletheaters.’ A branch of Cyclebar will open this fall on University Avenue. Photo: CycleBar

Berkeley residents are about to get a lot more fit. Or at least have more opportunities to do so.

Four high-end sports facilities will be opening their doors this fall, as will a smaller boutique gym. A fifth national brand hopes to open in Berkeley in 2017.

The five, CycleBar, EquinoxCity Sports Club, Soul Cycle and Orange Fitness are all connected to national or regional franchises that promote state-of-the-art workout equipment, classes set to the latest music, videos, flashing lights and more. Bōld is a father-daughter venture that will feature Pilates equipment and the Lagree training method.

CYCLEBAR  The first to launch will be CycleBar, an indoor bike spinning center, which will open in October at 1929 University Ave., the site of the old Fred’s Market. CycleBar is one of a number of national spinning franchises with cult-like followings (Soul Cycle and Flywheel are others), and is growing at a rapid rate. The company, created by siblings Alex Klemmer and Bill Pryor, started in Boston in 2004. The duo started licensing CycleBar franchises in January 2015 and expect to have about 300 fitness facilities around the country by the end of 2016.


Heather Branstetter and Chuck Schneider, two Marin County residents, are opening the CycleBar in Berkeley. They selected the city because they liked its diversity, energy and sense of community, they said.

CycleBar will have 48 bikes and hold spin classes set to “mind-blowing playlists.” Some classes will be held in a Cycletheater, a tiered room with two 80”- flat-screen TVs, state-of-the-art audio, a LED lighting system, and personal data monitors. Sometimes there will be live DJs. There will be classes for all fitness levels. Snacks, water, and bicycle shoes are complimentary.

“We are trying to create a spa-like experience,” said Branstetter. “Everything is going to be inspected, is going to be clean. We’ll have fresh fruit and water out for people.”

CycleBar plans to be community-oriented and will offer its facilities to Berkeley High sports teams, said Branstetter. Non-profit groups can rent the space for a nominal fee and hold their own cycle-thons fundraisers with instructors provided by the facility. The national brand has a partnership with the American Heart Association

CycleBar plans to offer about 2,500 free hours of classes when it first opens to show people what the facility is like, said Schneider. Classes will eventually cost from $20 to $35 depending on the size of the package a customer purchases.


A new City Sports Club will open in November in the Marchant Building. Photo: City Sports Club
A new City Sports Club will open in November in the Marchant Building. Photo: City Sports Club

CITY SPORTS CLUB plans to open a two-story, 44,000-square-foot fitness facility in the renovated Marchant Building at 3100 San Pablo Ave., right on the borders of Berkeley, Oakland and Emeryville. The facility will have more than 100 pieces of cardio equipment, a weight room, luxurious locker rooms, an indoor pool, and access to three parking lots. Instructors will also teach a variety of classes including yoga, Zumba, Pilates, aqua classes and Kickboxing. There will be personal trainers on site. City Sports Club is part of Fitness International, which owns more than 800 sports facilities across the country. There are currently 12 City Sports Clubs in the Bay Area.

Membership rates are variable at the moment (as low as $40 to $50 a month), according to General Manager Michael P. Mara, but will increase closer to the early November opening. City Sports Club has set up a temporary membership center at 2378 Shattuck Ave., or those interested can call 510-201-5576.

City Sports Club will join TCHO Chocolates, Clif Bar and a just-announced outpatient center run jointly by UCSF and John Muir, in the renovated Marchant Building,

A rendering of Equinox, which will open in the winter of 2017. Photo: Equinox
A rendering of Equinox, which will open in the winter of 2017. Photo: Equinox

EQUINOX The newly constructed Parker Place apartments at 2600 Shattuck Ave. has just started to rent out apartments, and the health Club Equinox will occupy a large chunk of the bottom floor just across the street at 2598 Shattuck Ave. in a second building. Equinox, like City Sports Club and CycleBar, considers itself a luxury fitness facility. This is the first East Bay location for Equinox, according to General Manager Jennifer Cochran. The chain, owned by The Related Company, has five other Bay Area facilities and plans to open more in the East Bay in the coming years, she said. No firm opening date has been set, but Equinox will open in the winter of 2017, said Cochran.

The club will take up a little bit less than 30,000-square-feet on two floors. There will be three studios, one for strength and conditioning, one for spinning, and one for yoga. There will be many different classes offered, including Pilates, she said, and personal trainers will also be available. There will also be a kids’ club. Equinox will start offering pre-sale memberships on Sept. 19 for $130 a month.


An Orangetheory Fitness studio. Photo: Orangetheory Fitness
An Orangetheory Fitness studio. Photo: Orangetheory Fitness

ORANGETHEORY FITNESS  Instead of bicycles, Orangetheory Fitness uses treadmills and rowing machines to push customers’ heart rates up to achieve what they call the “Orange Effect.” Orangefitness is opening a studio in the new 99-apartment building at 2475 Shattuck Ave. known as The Dwight.  It will offer “60-minute workout sessions split into intervals of cardiovascular and strength training with heart rate monitors to track intensity and maximize metabolic burn,” according to its webpage. The group has not yet announced when it will open, but The Dwight is scheduled to open later this month.

The interior of a SoulCycle studio. Photo: SoulCycle
The interior of a SoulCycle studio. Photo: SoulCycle

SOULCYCLE This chain, which went public in 2015, hopes to open an outlet in 2017, according to Tatum Getty, the senior manager of influencer marketing for SoulCycle’s Union Street facility in San Francisco. “We are not 100% confirmed yet, but hopeful for a 2017 Berkeley studio!” she wrote in an email. Rumor has it that SoulCycle will be going into the new building on Fourth Street right next to Spenger’s Fish Grotto that will also house a beer garden. Jamestown, the developer of that project, declined to comment.

Bōld Fitness will open Sept. 17 at College Ave. Photo" Bōld
Bōld Fitness will open Sept. 17 at 3167 College Ave. Photo: Bōld

BŌLD FITNESS Kate Miclean and her father John are opening one of the first studios in the East Bay to offer the Lagree Fitness method, which they dub “Pilates on Steroids.” Bōld, located at 3167 College Ave. near Alcatraz, will open its doors on Saturday. “The Lagree method uses slow and controlled movements while keeping the muscles under constant and continuous tension,” explains Bold’s website. “The workout is designed to effectively stimulate your muscle fibers for optimal change and results.” Classes will be free from Sept. 17-23, and the Micleans are offering a $99 unlimited promo offer for the studio’s first month.

The new workout destinations join a number of fitness facilities already available in Berkeley, including the Berkeley Y, two 24-Hour Fitness clubs, the Bar Method, the Cal Recreational Sports Facility, Anytime Fitness, Berkeley CrossFit, Happy Hour Fitness, and others.

Follow Berkeleyside on Twitter and Facebook or get the latest news in your inbox with Berkeleyside’s Daily Briefing. Email us at tips@berkeleyside.com. Keep Berkeleyside running and support independent local journalism by becoming a member.