In Democracy in America, Alex de Tocqueville writes “Americans of all ages, all stations in life, and all types of disposition are forever forming associations...There are not only commercial and industrial associations in which all take part, but others of a thousand different types–religious, moral, serious, futile, very general and very limited, immensely large and very minute.”
One of my favorite ways to spend time with others is through my city club. Most cities have their own general social city club and have staggered dues based on age. But there also clubs that require more for membership or cater to members of one specific political party or the other, or by interest or occupation. The Yale Club in Manhattan caters mostly to Yale alumni. Regular members of the Army and Navy Club in D.C. are those who have served as Commissioned Officers in the armed forces. And the founding members of the Union League in Philadelphia were Union supporters of President Abraham Lincoln.
Clubs are a place to meet and mingle. They're a place to talk about work and family and sometimes it's a place to talk about anything but work and family. They serve as a stage to celebrate our wins (with a martini) and a place to reflect on our losses and lick our wounds.
I enjoy the maximalist interior design and classical architecture that most clubs have. At my club I enjoy walking through the tall greek revival pillars that protect the entrance. I enjoy swimming in the mural wallpaper and dark wood that floods the interior. I enjoy the formality. I dress better when I plan to be there. And I keep a jacket in the office for impromptu visits. Some admire a bar with three seats, I admire a bar with a dress code and walls that predate my great grandfather. I also enjoy that it's accessible. I have no aristocratic pedigree or generational wealth hidden in a Swiss trust fund. Trust me.