Metropolitan club membership cost

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The Most Exclusive Private Clubs In New York City

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New York City has plenty of closely guarded doors, from the velvet rope-blocked thresholds of the Meatpacking District's nightclubs to the elite gates of the city's private high schools.

But the toughest doors of all may belong to the city's private clubs, elite institutions that cost thousands of dollars to join and whose member lists are often kept secret.

Click here to read about the most exclusive clubs in New York City >

Some, like the Metropolitan Club, have been around for over 100 years, cater to old money, and have strict membership requirements.

Others are much newer and cater to a different breed of wealthy New Yorkers. They are also more "democratic" about their membership.

According to a recent New York Times profile of the Core Club, one such institution:

It is open to all — or at least, in an essential way, to all those in the top 1 percent of United States households: families with earnings the Tax Policy Center estimates will be $3,061,546 on average this year for a family of four, as well as those from an even more-elevated category that the nonpartisan, nonprofit group calls the “ultra rich.”

The estimated income this year for households occupying that particular niche — a mere 0.1 percent of all United States households — will be $13,719,746, according to the Tax Policy Center.

Old or new, these private clubs are places where the city's power players come to relax, talk business, and network.

The Norwood Club

Members Clubs NYC

Norwood opened its members-only doors in 2007 at 241 West 14th Street, with a supposed annual membership fee of around $1,000, and annual dues of $750. Joining this place is not so much about how much money you can dish out (fees are low relative to other clubs in the city), but more who you are and who you know.

"It's limited to creative types" who are recommended from the inside, says one member. Norwood has a restaurant, three lounge bars, a 45-seat screening room and event space, as well as a private dining room for up to 24 people. And a walled garden.

The Yale Club

Members Clubs NYC

The Yale Club is a private spot at 44th Street and Vanderbilt Avenue for alumni and faculty of the New Haven university. The 22-story clubhouse is the largest in the world.

Though membership is restricted to alumni, faculty, and full-time graduate students, the club also offers legacy admission to Yale-affiliated members' children and grandchildren. With over 11,000 members worldwide, this place is a serious networking epicenter.

The Core Club

Members Clubs NYC

Membership at the Core Club, five floors in a nondescript building at 66 East 55th Street, is pretty exclusive and will set you back around $50,000 for the initiation fee. After that it's about $15,000 annually. This is all once you've been invited, that is.

The Core Club was started in 2005 by Jennie Saunders, with over 100 founding members putting in $100,000 each. These included venture capitalist Vivi Nevo, Blackstone Group chairman Stephen Schwarzman, and developer Aby Rosen and his wife, Samantha Boardman. Members have included Harvey Weinstein, William Lauder, Ron Burkle, Bill Clinton, and fashion designer Tory Burch, according to Page Six Magazine.

The Soho House

soho house
Courtesy Soho House

Membership at the exclusive Soho house in the Meatpacking district runs from $900 to $2,400 annually. The club is home to a 24-room hotel and a screening room, library, spa, and dining room. The roof has a large pool with views of the West Village.

Applicants are accepted, rejected, or left in waiting-list purgatory based on a committee decision. Some famous VIPs have included Nicole Kidman, Graydon Carter, Salma Hayek, Uma Thurman, and Robert DeNiro.

The Harvard Club

Members Clubs NYC

This is the members-only NYC home base for the Harvard elite to rub elbows and network. Anyone who has attended the university may apply to become a member. According to the club website, "once you have submitted your application, you are required to Interview with Admissions Committee Members." 

New York City is the largest base for Harvard alum and they make sure to keep in touch via frequent visits to this iconic clubhouse at 44th Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues.

The Harmonie Club

knickerbocker club

Founded in 1852, the Harmonie Club was originally a singing and dining association for New Yorkers of German Jewish descent. The club is currently located in a grand building on E. 60th Street. Amenities include squash courts, private dining, and a barber shop.

Today, it has around 1,000 members, most of whom are Jewish.

Mayor Bloomberg famously resigned from the Harmonie Club in 2001 in protest of the club's lack of diversity.

The Metropolitan Club

Members Clubs NYC

Private City Clubs

Comedian Groucho Marx famously once said that he didn’t want to belong to any club that would have him as a member, but he’s clearly in a minority. Many people who can afford to do so join one or more of the private city clubs that operate in most major metropolitan areas in the U.S. and around the world.

That’s understandable, given what the clubs offer. They can serve as both a home away from home and a second office. Many offer work areas and concierge services as well as spas, gyms, salons, and even movie theaters.

Core:, a New York City club, lists more than 380 events in its annual cultural-programming calendar, including conversations with actor/producer Jeremy Piven, former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, musician Carlos Santana, and former CBS Entertainment chairwoman Nina Tassler. Cercle de Lorraine in Brussels hosts diplomatic roundtables with ambassadors working in Belgium as well as lunch meetings with personalities in fields such as finance and politics.

Capital Club in Dubai, U.A.E. offers “clubs within the club,” to address members’ interests in such topics as travel and wine. The University Club of Chicago, meanwhile, hosts small groups catering to members interested in subjects such as photography and music-making. As some clubs start to attract a younger demographic, child-friendly events are becoming more common.

Fine dining is virtually always an option. At Core:, for example, James Beard-award-winning chefs join director of culinary operations Bernard Liberatore to develop a menu that changes at least eight times a year. At the University Club of Chicago, the executive chef is Mark Baker, who worked with the Four Seasons resorts for over two decades and has led teams at two restaurants that have received the AAA Five Diamond rating.

Some clubs also offer lodging. The Duquesne Club, in the business and financial district of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has 42 hotel rooms and suites for members’ guests that include such amenities as heated marble floors and complimentary access to a health and fitness center. The University Club of Chicago provides lodging to members and guests attending club-sponsored events. Other clubs, such as Washington, D.C.’s The George Town Club, offer overnight accommodations via arrangement with leading area hotels.

Reciprocal agreements expand the benefits of memberships. Many independent clubs have partnered with ones of the same caliber to allow entrance to one another’s members. In other cases, clubs have their own networks. Soho House, which has 15 locations worldwide, offers local memberships as well as a higher-priced option to use all of its clubs. ClubCorp—which owns and operates golf and country clubs in addition to city clubs—gives its members access to all of its more than 200 properties in Washington, D.C., 26 U.S. states, and other countries.

Tapping such benefits typically requires paying an initiation fee—a few hundred dollars to $50,000 or more—and annual dues, which usually run at least several thousand dollars. But to join, you almost invariably have to do more than produce a credit card or check. Many clubs require that prospective members be referred by one or more current members. You may have to be a member of a certain profession or have a college degree. Some clubs have age requirements, though an increasing number welcome the young. (Soho House even offers a child membership.) You may also be subject to interviews to determine whether your personality is a good fit for the club and whether you can provide networking opportunities or mentoring.

Before you go through this process, find out what rules the club imposes on members and make sure you’d be comfortable with them. The Metropolitan Club in New York City, for example, is one of many clubs that require men to wear jackets and ties. (Others, such as Capital Club in Dubai, have relaxed their dress codes in recent years.) To foster distraction-free networking, also, many clubs forbid use of cellular phones or laptops in certain areas. The Metropolitan Club and the Duquesne Club, for instance, permit talking on cell phones only in enclosed booths and other designated locations. Some facilities, such as the Hong Kong Club, allow electronic tablets and similar devices as long as they emit no audible sounds.

Groucho Marx would probably not be pleased by such rules, but the thousands of people who renew their private-club memberships every year don’t seem to mind.

A Sampling of City Clubs

Commerce Club-Atlanta, (402) 222-0191, Sweeping views of Atlanta and personal wine lockers are among benefits at this club, which boasts state-of-the-art technology in meeting rooms and work spaces. Open to anyone. Initiation fee: $200–$500, depending on age. Monthly dues: $179–$240, depending on age.

Cercle de Lorraine, +32 2 374 65 25, Located in a 1910 Belgian chateau. Diplomats and royalty network through organized hunting trips and classic-car excursions.
Application available online. Members must speak French or Flemish. Initiation fee: €1,750 (approx. $2,000). Annual dues: €1,500 (approx. $1,700).

The University Club of Chicago, (312) 726-2840, The club’s athletics department offers a wide array of facilities, from squash courts to steam rooms, and a staff that can improve a member’s golf game or fitness level. Applicants must have college degree and three letters of recommendation from members. Fees data unavailable.

Capital Club, +971 4 364 0111, Named one of the 10 best clubs in the world by CNN, this 1,500-member facility is in the heart of Dubai’s financial district. Membership by invitation only. Fees data unavailable.

The Hong Kong Club, +852 2978 9500, The library, with nearly 18,000 titles, is a focus of the 1,550-member club, which was founded in 1846. Membership by invitation only. Fees data unavailable.

Hurlingham Club, +44 20 7610 7400, Located on a 42-acre estate bordering the Thames, the circa-1867 club boasts premier outdoor sporting facilities, including grounds where King Edward VII engaged in pigeon shooting. Prospective members must join a waiting list, which is currently closed. Fees data unavailable.

Reform Club, +44 20 7930 9374, Once a political headquarters, the club’s 60-foot-high main hall with marble columns is among the stunning features of its stately Renaissance architecture. Members must be nominated by current ones. Initiation fee: £1,842 (approx. $2,600). Annual dues: £1,500 (approx. $2,100). (Amounts are for UK residents and as of 2014.)

City Club Los Angeles, (213) 620-9662, A screening room, along with rooms for smaller meetings and one-on-one conversations, are among the options at this location, which has skyline views of the city. Open to anyone. Initiation fee: $1,500–$2,000. Monthly dues: $215–$365. (Amounts depend on age and membership type.)

Core: club, (212) 486-6600, Founded in 2005, Core: boasts members such as Bill Clinton and Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz. By invitation only. Initiation fee: $50,000. Annual dues: $17,000.

Metropolitan Club, (212) 863-7400, J.P. Morgan was the first president of the club, which was established in 1891 and offers Central Park views. Members have included Richard Nixon and Salman Rushdie. By invitation only. Initiation fee: data unavailable. Annual dues: $5,000.

Soho House New York, (212) 627-9800, Perks include a heated rooftop pool with views of Manhattan, a 44-seat screening room, and a spa. Two members must propose applicants. Initiation fee: $150–$300, based on age. Annual dues: $1,000–$2,800, depending on membership level. Fourteen other locations in England; Miami; Chicago; West Hollywood, California; Istanbul, Turkey; Berlin; and Toronto.

The Duquesne Club, (412) 391-1500, Known for its “President’s Room” where only company presidents may belong, the 2,700-member club was founded in 1873 by Andrew Carnegie. By invitation only. Initiation fee: $9,000. Annual dues: $4,000.

Concordia-Argonaut, (415) 673-9522, The basketball court and members’ tournaments are a benefit of the club, which was founded by Levi Strauss and has been housed in the same historical building since 1891. By invitation only. Fees data unavailable.

Roppongi Hills Club, +81 3 6406 6000, Situated on the 51st floor of Roppongi Hills Mori Tower. Offers 360-degree views of Tokyo. Members include political leaders and ambassadors from more than 100 countries. Membership by application. Initiation fee: ¥1,200,000 (approx. $10,500). Annual dues: ¥180,000 (approx. $1,500).

The George Town Club, (202) 333-9330, Housed in an 18th century home believed to be where President George Washington and Major Pierre L’Enfant planned Washington, D.C. By invitation only. Fees data unavailable.

Kimberly Button ([email protected]) is a Florida-based freelance writer.

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12 Exclusive Private Clubs That Are Worth The Price of Admission

Party down at these elite members-only hot spots.

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Waiting in line and hoping that the bouncer takes mercy on you, and lets you and your friends into the hottest new club in town? That’s for suckers. 

Instead, what you should be doing is seeking out membership at exclusive private clubs with killer locations across the country from Las Vegas to New York and San Francisco. 

From purely social clubs where you can lounge in luxury, to those focused on high-end booze, music, and more, here are 12 private members-only clubs to consider joining right now.

Entry Level Bar Clubs

The Cocktail Club Charleston

Drinks are the name of the game at The Cocktail Club, with two membership levels providing you access to the space, couch reservations, members-only invites, annual cocktail classes and spirits tastings, and major discounts. 

Gold members can rent out the room twice per year for free, and also get a $100 bar tab during their birthday month to ensure they’re celebrating in style. $250-$500/year 

Scotts DC

The Club at Scotts is the place for you to whet your whiskey appetite while in Washington, D.C. Members gain private access to a back room lounge, separate from the main dining room and bar. 

Within, there are over 100 hand-picked selections from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society offered up, along with all of the whiskey geek material you need, such as water droppers for tasting and flavor profile notes and charts. 

Guests are able to access the space with fingerprint scanner technology, and also receive ongoing discounts and invites to private tastings.

Multnomah Whiskey Library

Membership to renowned whiskey bar Multnomah Whiskey Library in Portland ensures you can always reserve prime seating in the library. Good luck doing so without waiting for hours otherwise. 

Members only receive invites to tastings and private events, and a set of your own custom glassware. Membership is capped and currently only open to waiting list additions.

Top of the Modern Class

Norwood Club

The Norwood Club bills itself as a “home for the curious,” intended for New York’s creative and artistic communities. Founded in 2007, Norwood builds its offerings and programming around those members, with events such as film screenings and art exhibits, art classes and workshops, live performances, and wine dinners. 

Members get VIP access to New York and Miami art fairs, admission to reciprocal clubs around the world, and discounts at partners such as the Standard Hotels.
$1,500-$2,500/year + $400-$800 initiation


Influential high rollers step right up to the CORE Club, where you have to pay $50k just to become a member. The club was founded in 2005 as a way for you and your closest uber-rich associates to both lounge and network with other big-hitting members. 

Consider this your home away from home, with fine-dining, art galleries, full on-site fitness center and spa, and much more. The club provides you with curated access and perks for all of the essentials in life, like one-touch yacht charter reservations, as you do. 

There’s a new international location set to debut in Milan next year, while members also receive reciprocal access to a lineup of similar high-end clubs around the world.
$17,000/year + $50,000 initiation

Soho House

The Soho House has been going strong for nearly 25 years after opening in London in 1995. Locations in the U.S. include New York, West Hollywood, Miami, and Chicago, with another half dozen international clubs also in the group. 

The focus here is on the creative industries, with members typically belonging to the film, fashion, music, media, and art worlds. Perks in NYC include an on-site spa and screening room, rooftop swimming pool, and ongoing calendar of member events. 

Discounted memberships are available for those under 27 years of age.
$1,080-$3,300/year + $350-$550 initiation


Whether you prefer to indulge in whiskey, wine, or cigars, or simply socializing in style, Wingtip has its members covered. 

Located in San Francisco, the club boasts a wine cave with over 2,000 bottles, and a whiskey selection over 500 deep. You can practice your swing on a golf simulator, or hustle your buddies in the billiards room. 

Membership is capped to keep an exclusive feel, with membership levels allowing you either an allotted number of visits per quarter, or unlimited access, along with swanky members-only events.
$1,500-$2,400/year + $2,000-$3,000 initiation


The Modernist was founded in 2015, joining an increasingly competitive field of private clubs in San Francisco which are catering to the city’s wealthy tech elite. 

Modernist is built around its clubhouse, where you can sip craft cocktails from the club’s personal mixologist, or dine at the on-site restaurant, Akiko, offering highly-touted sushi from chef Chris Massad. 

Events include private wine and whiskey tastings, and members-only parties, with other perks including club access in locales from Singapore to Australia.

Find Your Niche

For Bunnies—The Playboy Club

The Playboy Club debuted its New York digs in 2018. The joint is generally open to the public, with a bar and full-service restaurant focused on flashy fine dining—think wagyu and caviar—and of course, bunnies. 

From there, the club offers four membership tiers that can cost up to $100,000. All members receive tickets to events like the Playmate of the Year party and Playboy Masquerade Ball, access to members-only speakeasy spaces, and pre-loaded bar tabs. 

The perks and price get stratospheric in tandem—10 VIP tickets to the U.S. Open or other NY sporting events, 10 hotel nights, Bentley chauffeur service to the club, and more.

For Music—House of Blues Foundation Room VIP Club

The House of Blues boasts its own private club, the Foundation Room, with locations across the U.S., including Chicago, Dallas, Houston, New Orleans, and a handful of others. 

Las Vegas though is the mecca, located on the 63rd floor of the Mandalay Bay. Membership in Sin City includes an allotment of tickets to concerts and shows throughout the year, along with members-only events, first access to VIP tickets that’ll be selling out to the public, and perks across MGM properties, such as spa access, free parking, and dining credits.

For Crypto—The MORE Las Vegas Club

MORE proves there is indeed a club for everyone and everything. This is the members-only club for MORE cryptocurrency, with membership dues standing at a required purchase of 5,000 MORE coins, which will only cost you about $300 as of the time of this writing, but would have set you back closer to $3,500 earlier this year. 

Members receive exclusive club nights and in-person performances, VIP access and other fringe perks, with all purchases and transactions within handled digitally with your cryptocurrency bankroll.
5,000 cryptocurrency ownership

The Old Guard NYC Elite

The Metropolitan Club

The Metropolitan Club was founded in 1891, with some dude named J.P. Morgan serving as its first president, and an initial members roll call including other last names like Vanderbilt and Roosevelt. 

Despite that name recognition, the club was actually designed to be less snooty and exclusive than some of the other clubs at the time (see below). Nevertheless, at least four modern-era U.S. Presidents have been members. 

Jackets and ties are required at all-times, fellas, while cell phone and laptop usage is prohibited.

Besides the Metropolitan, NYC is the epicenter of the old vanguard of elite members club. Others include the University Club (est. 1865), Harmonie Club (est. 1852), Knickerbocker Club (est. 1871), Colony Club (women’s only, est. 1903), and Union Club (est. 1836), to name a quick handful whose members collectively, in all likelihood, run our entire lives.

The reason we’re not listing any of these clubs separately is that all of their membership dues are undisclosed. 

Good luck!

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Jake Emen


New York City has all the makings for the top members-only clubs in the United States- more millionaires than any other city in the world, more billionaires than in all of the UK or France, some of the richest zip codes in the United States, and an international hub for financiers, socialities, and industry leaders. Here are our favorite top 5 private clubs in NYC:




The Union Club 

The first private club in Manhattan and one of the most exclusive is The Union Club, founded in 1836 in an opulent landmark building known for its details. Amenities include five dining rooms, a humidor with 100,000 cigars, a card room, a library, a lounge, and squash courts. Notable Members are also some of the most prominent in history: Cornelius Vanderbilt, William Randolph Hearst, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Ulysses S. Grant.




The Metropolitan Club

The Metropolitan Club dates back to 1891, originally founded as a gentlemen’s club by J.P. Morgan after one of his friends wasn’t allowed to join another club. The club rarely allowed access to women, who were segregated to a separate annex until the 1940s.  Business attire (ties and jackets) are still required to this day, no cell phones or laptops are allowed and membership is said to be around $5k. Notable members have included: Ronald Reagan, Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton, and Salman Rushdie.




SOHO House 

One of the most popular private clubs, Soho House was founded in London in 1955 and has multiple locations around the world, including 3 outposts in NYC (Meatpacking, Lower East Side, and Brooklyn). Made for young creatives in the media and arts, the chic spaces feature rooftop pools, elegant bars, and lounge spaces. Some famous members have included Graydon Carter, Nicole Kidman, Salma Hayek, Robert DeNiro, and Uma Thurman.



CORE: Club

The Core Club was founded in 2005 by 100 plus investing members investing at least 100k each -including Jennie Saunders,  Steven Roth, venture capitalist Vivi Nevo, Blackstone Group chairman Stephen Schwarzman, Patricia Kluge, and developer Aby Rosen and his wife, Samantha Boardman. Initiation fee of $50k and an annual $15k fee gets access to the five-floor midtown Manhattan building and all of its amenities-  dining room, bar, library, terrace spa facilities, event space, private meeting rooms, suites, and on-loan art collection. Members include finance, real estate, film, fashion, and the political world, and is said to be one of the most affluent and power clubs in NYC.  Notable Members have included Bill Clinton, Harvey Weinstein, William Lauder, Ron Burkle, and fashion designer Tory Burch, according to Page Six Magazine.




Zero Bond 

The newest members-only club in New York City, Zero Bond opened in October of 2020, in the middle of the COVID 19 pandemic. Located in the chic Noho neighborhood on exclusive Bond Street, the club was founded by nightclub impresario Scott Sartiano of 1OAK gears the clientele towards artistic types, pro athletes, and notable business and entertainment figures. Amenities include a bar,  grill room, an omakase bar, cafe, roof deck, library, and screening room. Annual dues are $3,000, plus a $500 initiation fee.

Kimberly Fisher

Kimberly Fisher is a Pursuitist contributor. As a freelance writer and on-camera host, Kimberly has traveled the world and has published over 400 articles in over 44 publications including Sherman's Travel, Huffington Post, Just Luxe, Luxury Lifestyles UK, eHow, Examiner, Food Wine Travel Magazine, Luxe Beat, NiteGuide, Ocean View, and USA Today. Disclosure: Kimberly is employed by Remy Cointreau Americas.

Kimberly FisherSours:

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