New York's best private members clubs

Words by Quintessentially

29 June 2020

For those in search of venues that cater exclusively to the sophisticated and illustrious, Quintessentially Insider proposes a few of New York’s most impressive member-only clubs…

Union Club

Sitting in the heart of Upper East Side is Union Club – the oldest social club of its kind in New York City and the third oldest in the U.S. Founded in 1836, and located in a prominent spot at 69th St. and Park Avenue, Union Club boasts five dining rooms, a humidor with 100,000 cigars, Grand Ballroom, library, card room and squash courts. The exclusive and conservative club has hosted the likes of J.P. Morgan, Cornelius Vanderbilt, Dwight Eisenhower, Ulysses S. Grant and John Jacob Astor IV.

East 69th Street and Park Avenue

The Metropolitan Club

Oozing elegance and sophistication, The Metropolitan Club was established by J.P. Morgan, a Vanderbilt and a Whitney, when one of J.P Morgan’s friends was denied membership in the old money-only Union Club. A club meant for the nouveau money of Manhattan, the city’s grandest palazzo features intricately carved wood ceilings, elaborate chandeliers and floor-to-ceiling draperies, taking one back in time. Known for the club’s grand staircase, the three-level club offers all the glamour of three large private dining rooms, a smoking room, a bowling alley, wine rooms, a dining hall and most innovative of all, a ladies' annexe. The Metropolitan Club’s notable members have included Ronald Reagan, Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton.

60th Street and Fifth Avenue

The Norwood Club

Combining Greek revival and Italianate features, the Norwood Club is a hub for the local creative industries, providing members with a salon of discovery through a variety of talks and events, food and beverage tastings, and stimulating screenings and performances. Opening in 2007, the five-level club features a restaurant, three lounge bars where famous DJs are spinning or string quartets are playing, a 45-seat screening room, an event space, a private dining room and a walled garden. Easels are also set up for anyone who feels compelled to express themselves in painting. As one of the newest private clubs in the city, it is no surprise Norwood has quickly become the place to be in New York.

241 West 14th Street

The Century Association

Considered “the most unspeakably respectable club in the United States,” the Century Association is a quintessentially New York place, populated by media, advertising and journalistic figures. Founded in 1829 by editor and poet William Cullen Bryant, the club currently hosts around 2,400 members and some of the members have included Jackie Onassis, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Michael Bloomberg and Brooke Astor. Membership offers access to the Century Centre for Performing Arts, a 248-seat theatre, ballroom and studio, as well as an extraordinary art collection – significantly promoting interest in the fine arts and literature.

43rd Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenue

The Harmonie Club

As one of New York’s oldest and most prestigious private clubs, The Harmonie Club provides an oasis in the centre of Manhattan for members and their guests. Established in 1852 by the “Gesellshaft” group, the elegant Stanford White clubhouse boasts a fitness centre, squash courts, pool, private dining rooms and a barber shop. With nearly 1,000 members, most of whom are Jewish, the club has been frequented by every New York Mayor and affluent business tycoons.

East 60th St.

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