The 7 Best Members-Only Clubs in America With Insane Boozy Perks
Forget about the boring country club golf courses, billionaire ski lodges or ritzy London manors that won’t let you in unless you are related to the Queen herself. Today’s exclusive clubs are way more modern, with an emphasis on complimentary cocktails instead of afternoon tea, as well as a host of other ridiculously awesome amenities. All of these clubs may have exorbitant membership fees, but you can actually join them, even if you didn’t graduate from a secret Harvard society. While some require you to have special accomplishments or careers, others will gladly just accept your many, many dollars. Here, the most exclusive, members-only clubs in America with impressive boozy offerings that are giving us a serious case of FOMO.
Soho House, New York, NY
Membership: $1,000 to $2,800 annually, $150 to apply
Just like the original Soho House in London, this New York location is for the artistic elite in film, fashion, advertising, music, art and media (it once had a sign banning suits to ward off the likes of lawyers and hedge fund managers). You need two existing members to vouch for you, along with a headshot to apply. Once in, you’ll enjoy an industrial chic space in the Meatpacking District that includes an Italian restaurant, a screening room, a vintage-style Club Bar, an event space (that includes another bar), a Pantry bar—stocked with meat, cheese and a self-service candy bar—and, best of all, a rooftop pool with sweeping views of the surrounding skyline. Of course, all food and drinks are served to members poolside.
Club 33, Disneyland, Anaheim, CA
Membership: $50,000 initiation, $15,000 annually
Disneyland’s worst kept secret, Club 33, is an exclusive club in the New Orleans Square section of the park, where you’ll find celebrities, politicians and other rich folk dining and drinking, with nary a costumed mouse to be found. The classy club launched in the 1960s and was the brainchild of Walt Disney himself, who wanted to provide accommodation for the corporate elite. Today, members can escape the hustle and bustle of the park to enjoy an open-air courtyard, Le Grand Salon dining area, Le Salon Nouveau jazz lounge, and lots of booze—a rarity in the otherwise dry Disneyland. Despite the monstrous fee to join the club, the waiting list to join is more than 14 years long. But don’t worry, there are four other locations coming to Florida’s Disney World soon.
The Explorers Club, New York, NY
Membership: $35-$1,000 annually
You won’t get into the Explorers Club on daddy’s credit card—you actually have to earn it by summiting Mt. Everest, traipsing through the Amazon or setting foot on the moon. At the very least, you need to contribute to scientific exploration in some major way. This exclusive club for the Teddy Roosevelts and Neil Armstrongs of the world looks like a mix between a lost boys’ clubhouse and the Natural History Museum, with taxidermy polar bears, elephant tusks and lion pelts adorning every surface. Members who consider themselves intrepid Indiana Jones-esque adventurers can enjoy sipping lots of scotch in an armchair, poring over maps, attending lectures and rubbing shoulders with members like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos.
The Thermal Club, Thermal, CA
Membership: $85,000 initiation, plus $14,000-$56,000 annually
Those with a need for speed will feel like they’re in paradise at The Thermal Club, and it’s not just because of the warm Palm Springs weather. This club for motorsports enthusiasts has a massive on-site race tracks, along with luxury villas and the private Motorsports Village, the club’s social center where members can relax at the well-stocked bar or restaurant or on the outdoor patio around fire pits after a long day of racing. There are also sports courts, a pool and a spa to enjoy, all while your Ferrari is chilling in the on-site tune-up shop with your personal mechanic, or in the temperature-controlled garages. If you want a more permanent dwelling, you can even design a private villa that features a full service bar for $600,000 to $2 million.
The Magic Castle, Los Angeles, CA
Membership: $1,500 annually for associates, $500 annually for practicing magicians
You may not have gotten a Hogwarts letter when you turned 11, but you can still gain access to an elite academy of magical arts. The Magic Castle is a private club for magicians and their assistants (read: guests). Every evening at the castle is a black tie affair, which consists of magic shows from some of the world’s greatest magicians. It has five bars, a Victorian dining room and lots of Houdini-era memorabilia, but the colorful company is really the most fascinating part about the place. To become a member, you can audition as a resident magician or apply as a non-resident magician or lover of magic (the waiting list for the latter is about four months). One of our favorite celebrity cocktail enthusiasts, Neil Patrick Harris, used to be the president—or Ambassador of Magic—of the castle, so you know the booze options will be on point.
Parlor, New York, NY
Membership: $1,500 annually, plus a quarterly beverage spend of $250
Parlor puts “da club” back in social club. Instead of stuffy, cigar-puffing old men, the Soho-based Parlor offers a space for the youthful elite to actually party, with an emphasis on dining and drinking. Savor an innovative tasting menu from chef Matt Rojas, along with wine pairings from an in-house sommelier. Then, move along to the dimly lit lounge, which features a signature cocktail menu from mixologist William Day, a “no-hassle” door policy which retains a personalized guest list for you to place the names of your friends, bottle service, and nightly DJs. There’s also an in-house wine cellar where you can purchase rare bottles and personal wine lockers. To get in, you’ll need to apply with a CV of professional accomplishments, favorite travel destinations and connections, before passing an in-person interview.
Wingtip, San Francisco, CA
Membership: From $1,000 initiation with $25 monthly dues to $3,000 initiation with $200 monthly dues
This Bay Area club strives to create a place for all things “gentlemanly”—from shoes and suits to scotch—but with a focus on things that are new and exciting rather than mired in tradition. Case in point: Women are most definitely encouraged to join. If you appreciate the finer things in life, but don’t take it too seriously, this is the place to meet people who share your worldview. At the heart of the club is the main bar, which offers stunning views of San Francisco, along with a menu of craft cocktails, fine wine, spirits and food. There is also a billiards room, a wine cave, private parlor rooms, a golf simulator and the Whisky Corner, which showcases the club’s collection of over 500 whiskies from around the world. But all of this is meant to be enjoyed in good spirit, without the pretension that you’re better than anyone else, hence the liberal policy on your career, age, dress code and guests.