Not that kind of gentlemen's club
June 8, 2014 5:06 PM   Subscribe

I'm in NYC and am interested in traditional gentlemen's clubs, like the University Club and The Knickerbocker. Is there an accessible version of this kind of club? Something with a library and bar and maybe food? I'm middle class and don't have an especially high-flying job and don't have any amazing social connections in the city, so it would have to be a straight-forward application process. Does anything like this exist or would it defeat the point of these clubs if it did exist?
posted by lbotkins to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (10 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
The Montauk Club in North Park Slope doesn't require any particular affiliation or educational pedigree, and the dues seem reasonable. IIRC maybe 7 years ago the young folks staged a coup and did a big membership has become predominantly under 35.
posted by foodmapper at 5:16 PM on June 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

I think you're looking for The Player's Club. It was built in the 1880s, and beyond meeting the membership dues, I believe that all that is required is an interest in the theater. But I'm not a member/don't really know anything more about it.
posted by geryon at 5:19 PM on June 8, 2014

NY 2013 mag story. To join The Players, I think you must be proposed and seconded by current members, but you can apply directly, and then meet with a group of members--you need more than just an interest in theater.
posted by Ideefixe at 6:24 PM on June 8, 2014

There's the Midtown Executive Club. I've been there for events - I'm not sure if there's a library but there's a bar and a restaurant I think and the facility is nice. Looks like anyone can join.

I've been to the Yacht Club. I was there with members who were self-described yachties and I'm not sure what the membership process is like ie if you need to be recommended but it has everything you mention from the bar to the restaurant that makes you feel as if you are in the hold of a ship and I think a library. The couple I was visiting with were a young middle class couple so I didn't get the impression that it was a stratospherically priced club but I don't actually know.
posted by rdnnyc at 6:48 PM on June 8, 2014

Many university clubs offer reciprocal privileges; if you have a BA/BS or graduate degree, you might check with your alma mater and find out what it takes to join their club, and then to which clubs membership gives you access.
posted by brianogilvie at 6:50 PM on June 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

If its just the facilities you're after, there are
hotel clubs like this:

If its camaraderie and a cool hobby and new people,
I suggest picking up sailing: No library or hotel rooms, but bars,
boats and a club atmosphere, with lessons and a straightforward application process.

Memail me if you want further advice on the less accessible kinds of clubs you mentioned.
posted by slateyness at 8:02 PM on June 8, 2014

It might be helpful if you clarified a bit what counts in your mind as middle class or how much discretionary income you are willing to put into this. For example the Manhattan Yacht Club mentioned above (let's not even mention its snobbier older brother the NYYC) is a straightforward application process, but is going to set you back at minimum between $1100-$2300 a year depending on your age and desired level of participation. The Player's Club annual dues are something like $2200 a year.

Is that a financial commitment you are comfortable making?

See also this 2013 New York Magazine piece some some younger NYC social clubs.
posted by Wretch729 at 9:10 PM on June 8, 2014

Yeah. The $1500ish neighborhood is about right.
posted by lbotkins at 2:46 AM on June 9, 2014

Some of the clubs are actually a great deal for middle class people, if you use the gym and sports facilities in lieu of Equinox or whatever, and especially if you have out of town guests to put up in the rooms in lieu of Manhattan hotel rates. Ask some dudes over 40 in your office who live in Manhattan and you'd be surprised at the intros you can get. Some clubs have really lost any kind of social flavor though ... spend some time figuring out if they will actually scratch your itch.
posted by MattD at 4:42 AM on June 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

You could also look into joining the Masons, who have an extraordinary building in midtown - it might not be quite what you're looking for (it is definitely a very good organization for socializing, but it not a purely social organization, if that makes any sense.) They have a library, and I think they have dining facilities in-house- but those are probably used on a special occasions basis. However, one of the ground floor tenants of the building is a restaurant and bar - the restaurant is open to the public but they have a private loft that's reserved for use by the various lodges that meet in the building.

I don't know what the average dues for a NYC lodge are, but they are probably considerably less than $1500/year.
posted by usonian at 8:28 AM on June 9, 2014

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