6 Bank Vaults in Crazy Places

The one problem with bank vaults is that when you install one in a building, you have to demolish said building if you ever hope to remove it. That’s the problem with making a door made out of two-foot-thick steel.

Branson was protective over his IKEA lampshade... (Source)

… but not as protective as Steve Jobs was over his leatherette chairs. (Source)

Luckily, there are those out there who feel the polished veneer of a well-put-together safe is a thing of beauty and wonder and so, from necessity rather than by design, have managed to sculpt their business around the huge hulking mass that would have otherwise got in the way. This article explores the creativity and wonder of these places, as we look at the six strangest places to find a bank vault.

6. The Bedford Club in Chicago

If you are seated in the vault room, it would be unwise to complain about the soup. (Source)

Where else would you be able to enjoy fine dining and appreciate bank vault design in the same sitting? Why, The Bedford Club in Chicago, of course. This exclusive diners club plays host to an enormous bank vault, complete with intact (and highly polished) lockbox room. Flashy.

Eric the troublesome waiter had a nasty habit of hiding the salt shakers. (Source)

The vault room can be booked out as a party-event room. We imagine it would make a perfect location for a group of ex-cons with a wicked sense of irony.  


5. The Baltimore Spring Hill Suite Hotel

 YOU’RE FIRED! Close the door on your way out… No, wait… (Source)

As comforting as it may be to reside momentarily in a bank vault, the good people at Marriot have instead utilised the old vault in their Baltimore hotel as a conference room that can snugly fit ten busy executives.

Gordon Gekko’s new house was utterly fit for purpose. (Source)

Lord knows the threats and lock-ins that have been proposed within those four steel-clad walls. Even Lord Sugar or Mr. Trump would feel rather put off by the looming presence of that door. 


4. Starbucks Bridgehampton, NY

 Expensive coffee, safe doors and pictures of elephants… welcome to the machine my friends. (Source)

Corporate coffee shops are a sure-fire way to make a tidy profit. We think the proprietors of this particular franchise have taken things a little too far when looking after their takings.

I’ll have a skinny mochachino and three ingots of gold bullion. (Source)

The coffee shop is situated inside the building that once housed the Bridgehampton National Bank and, as opposed to hiding the evidence of the transformation, they have embellished it and made it a great feature of the decor.


3. Brooklyn Flea Market

 Ingots. Get your ingots here. Buy one, get one free… wait, what? (Source)

It seems a shame that a bank this grand and dramatic is now being used to as a garage sale venue. We think it might be a rather fitting analogy to the current global financial crisis, but we don’t want to upset anyone, so... wow, look at that door.

I know you want to keep your baseball card stand safe, but this might be taking it too far. (Source)

The building used to house The Williamsburgh Savings Bank is in the midst of being converted into luxury accommodation for the high and mighty of New York. At the moment, though, it’s a great place to buy and sell bric-a-brac.


2. The Reserve Restaurant wine cellar Laurel, MS

 At last, a vault we wouldn’t mind being locked in for a session… (Source)

Ah yes, now we are talking. So far we’ve seen vaults used as showpieces and focal points; that’s just not how they roll in Laurel, MS. Here, they store their valuables behind vault doors, and what is more valuable than thousands of bottles of Bacchus’s sweet nectar?

 … just don’t forget the corkscrew. (Source)

The restaurant was converted from the First National Bank in 2008 and, as you can see, has a sizable collection of wines that most eateries would be proud, not to mention safety conscious, of.


1. The Kelvin Arms, Houston

 Makes us thirsty just thinking about it. (Source)

We imagine The Kelvin Arms is a bit of a one-off. A Scottish Pub in the heart of Houston that has an enormous bank vault as a main feature is not something that crops up very often. Those chairs don’t half look comfy too.

 If you hadn’t spotted it, the vault is in the background. (Source)

Established in the year 2000, The Kelvin Arms offers a warm welcome and a fine selection of ales and whiskies. It looks like a booze lovers paradise, and I’m sure if you ask nicely enough, they’ll have a lock-in for you. Just make sure they’ve got the key on them when they do.


So, there we have it; six brilliant vaults and six brilliant new uses for them. It is worth remembering that once a vault is put in place, it’s there for good; come rain or shine... or tornado.

Did the KFC make it? (Source)

This vault was the only part left of the Commerce Bank in Joplin, MO, after a hurricane swept through.

Now we know where Dorothy should have hidden.