Everyone knows what Groucho Marx said about any club that would have him as a member.
But the very point of joining clubs is not because you’ve squeaked by as an outsider, but because you believe you can hang amongst your people, being constantly congratulated for being one of them.
We’re members of one of the Manhattan University clubs because my husband had an ill spent youth studying. I am a beneficiary of his dull high school years which have allowed us to sit below portraits of past Presidents who have also attended the elite university and are eligible, as we are, to drink our martinis amongst others who we assume are like us.
One of the big perks of any ‘member’s only’ club is that you may use it as your private dining room when you,
A. Need to be the one paying for the drinks and meal, or
B. You are one of those slackers that never entertain at home.
This applies whether you’re dining while looking over the rooftops of Manhattan or contemplating the shores of Long Island,
Note: Where applicable, monthly minimums greatly encourage you to treat your friends and colleagues to your exclusive home away from home hospitality- and savvy guests can dine guilt free.
Recently my husband and I fell into category A. when lovely friends invited us to the Soho House on 9th Avenue in the Meatpacking District.
For those in the know, the Soho House which originated in London got a deservedly big reputation for special cool media types and celebs. Average Joes became more aware of it when its rooftop pool (open year round) was featured on Sex and the City. As appropriate for hip joints, the sign out front is barely visible as you cross the cobblestone streets and approach the old warehouse.
The gatekeepers on the first floor will check you in and let you take the elevator if indeed your name has been added to a list. No window shopping at the Soho House.
The dining room is located on the 6th floor, along with the bar and lounge area. The dining room is a stand-out space away from the hub-bub. The coffered ceiling appears to be a restored work of stamped metal, complemented by huge Swarovski chandeliers and modern furniture- delightful in its eclectic feel. When you’re not enjoying the views of the West Village and Hudson River you can ogle the hot leggy chicks and the suave looking men they’re dining with. The club which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner has a way with its tiny tasty portions. It’s empowering not to overeat. That doesn’t necessarily mean everything here is in moderation.
I knew this was a club I needed to be invited to again when I noticed the two signs on the inside of the stall door in the lady’s room. The first: Anyone found in pairs in the stalls will immediately have their membership suspended and will be asked to leave. The 2nd sign said: No Smoking.
It made sense that you would need a cigarette after whatever the heck was going on if the first sign pertained to you. And of course any club that needs to have a strict policy regarding canoodling in the johns is a step up from most of the stuffy clubs I’ve been hanging out in. To cement my liberal party observations we couldn’t help but stop on our way out to watch a large group in the lounge playing what appeared to be some sort of Drinking Bingo headed by an assortment of transvestites. The frivolity was infectious. And to think I’ve been cowed by the ‘no denim’ rule at our fancy University Club.
Incented by the fun, my spouse and I attempted to keep the magic going at home. Due to our lifetime membership in the Parent’s Club we checked the kid’s rooms before heading to ours. Unlike the well guarded doors at the Soho House, our nine year old stealth operator succeeded in catching us in an amorous PG position announcing,”It’s the romance police.”
Another big Club perk? They have hotel rooms.
Kim Berns is a writer and interior designer who lives in Rye Neck (sorry, Mitch.)