The Downtown Club of Birmingham was founded in 1947 with Newman Waters, Sr as its first president and meetings held in the Essex House. Within two decades the club boasted 1,250 members and a board of directors that included Alvin Vogtle, Crawford Johnson III, Robert Montgomery, Mortimer Jordan IV, John Hendon, A. Key Foster, Earl Mallick, Harry Curl, Carl Wittichen Jr, Robert Garrett, M. E. Moor Jr, J. W. Goodwin, Charles Faines Jr, Amasa Smith and Elmer Bissell.
The club, with Bissell as president, moved into a new 20,000 square-foot building adjoining its former location in 1966. The $1 million club house faced 6th Avenue North between 22nd and 23rd Streets, surrounded by 200 parking spaces. It was designed by Warren, Knight & Davis architects of Birmingham in association with Robert F. McLaughlin Associates of Chicago, Illinois. Brice Building Company served as contractor. The club's main dining room could be combined with the adjacent bar & grill and two other ground-floor rooms to seat as many as 500 people for banquets. Thirteen other private dining rooms served for smaller functions. Stan Vermendel managed both locations.