You’ve got your regular bars. Taverns, taprooms, cocktail dens, wine bars and the like. They’re nice. Never stop visiting them. But do know that hidden among the usual spots, there exists a collection of private, secretive, members-only bars where you can broker deals that change the world. Or just have a nice glass of scotch while sitting in a leather chair. Your call. But first, you’ve got to get in, and that may require anything from a steep fee to a lengthy application to an in-person interview. We’re confident you’ve got what it takes to count yourself as a regular. So here they are: the world’s best members-only bars.
Soho House, multiple locations: Founded in London in 1995, Soho House has expanded to Barcelona, Berlin (pictured), Istanbul (pictured in the previous slide), New York, West Hollywood, Miami, Chicago and Toronto. Which means you've got a few options when traveling. That's provided you're a member. You can apply online, but know that applicants must be nominated by two existing Soho House members. Once you're in, expect well-appointed bars, restaurants, workspaces and bedrooms, should your daytime activities necessitate an overnight stay.
Hospital Club, London: Offering a little something for everyone, here you’re working with a boutique hotel, two cocktail bars, a restaurant, meeting rooms, a 3D cinema and a billiards room. So you won't get bored. Not only did it used to be a real 18th-century hospital, but Dave Stewart (the non-Annie Lennox half of Eurythmics) has an operational studio near the main bar/nightclub where he still records. Reserve a hotel room or meeting room to get access to the property. Otherwise, pony up £850 yearly, plus a £250 joining fee.
The Battery, San Francisco: When you sell a little company called Bebo for $850 million, you’ve got some money to throw around. And in this case, some of those profits went into the Battery, a five-level, 58,000-square-foot club that’s got a nice restaurant, four bars, a wine cellar, a library, a gym, spa and 14 hotel rooms. Dues are $2,400 a year, but money alone won’t get you in. Prospective entrants must be nominated by a current member, so get out there and start shaking hands.
Harvard Club, NYC: This sprawling space in Midtown Manhattan is occupied by bars, a fine dining restaurant, private event spaces and athletic facilities. All quality places to rub elbows with industry leaders. To get in, you must be a Harvard graduate, but you've still got to impress the decision-makers during a mandatory admissions interview.
Wingtip, San Francisco: Wingtip is a fine, fine store full of clothing, accessories and even booze. But the Club at Wingtip, located on the top two floors of the building... now that’s even more compelling. Because that’s where you’ll find members spread out among the bar and lounge, private parlor rooms, a billiards room, a golf simulator, a wine cave and even a roof deck. All places you’d like to inhabit. You can buy your way in, with different price points based on your level of use.
Milk & Honey, London: One of London’s best bars is also one of its hardest to get into. But with bars spanning three floors and serving some of the best drinks in town, it’s worth trying. Milk & Honey is members-only six nights a week, and members always get preference over nonmembers. Fortunately, you can apply online, and membership dues are downright reasonable.
Dracula's Ghost Riders Club, St. Moritz, Switzerland: The clear winner for best name, this exclusive bar in St. Moritz caters to the moneyed winter-sports enthusiast. (Apparently, the term "ghost rider" is a nod to bobsledding. Cool.) It's a cozy spot to drink and dance that holds 150 people. As for getting in, you'd better know somebody. Or be somebody.
Club Silencio, Paris: You know David Lynch? The Mulholland Drive guy? Well, he's got a nightclub in Paris. One that he designed himself. It's fashioned like a modern-day salon, so go there expecting good conversation with creative types. Inside you'll find two bars, a photo gallery, 24-seat cinema, library, smoking room and a stage. Potential members can apply online, with preference given to those sporting recommendations from other members.
Kee Club, Hong Kong: This private club has an elegant bar and dining room (there’s a dim sum lunch in addition to fine-dining dinners) and salon, for all your drinking, eating and discreet-conversing needs whilst in Hong Kong. And being a member gets you reciprocal access to a handful of affiliate clubs from Shanghai to New York. To join, just apply online, but you might want to look over the lengthy club rules and bylaws first.
The Clubhouse, Buenos Aires: When you’re hobnobbing around the Southern Hemisphere, consider swinging through the Clubhouse. It’s got two bars, a lounge, terrace, pool and garden, plus four guest rooms if you want to stick around for a while. Gaining access requires an application and interview, and you must pay an annual fee to keep up your membership dues. The club also hosts regular events, from private dinners and film screenings to pool parties. So that’s fun.