In past decades supper clubs, speakeasies, and even earlier underground jazz clubs all played a role in the creation of the supper club as a sought-after destination. Today raves have replaced the jazz clubs of yesteryear as the underground music venue.
The thing is that while supper clubs today are a rare find, it was this same rarity of the 1920’s speakeasies that made them the outlandish, an oftentimes illegal, and highly popular place to be. The roaring twenties in the states gave birth to a time rich with possibility.
Jazz music gave birth to dance and risqué behavior that was unthought of only a decade before. Then a few decades later it was rock n roll and civil rights that became the risqué and underground hip atmosphere of the times.
While the music, times, dress, and the world have moved on the atmosphere of the supper club has remained the highly sought after and elusive place to be for those in the know or who want to be known as in the know. The elite, creme de la creme outlaw, rebel, social, music, or economical exclusive grouping still gather in supper clubs.
It is the very exclusivity private membership that allows the free-spoken, cutting edge music, poetry, or social activism to germinate and grow. In the economically exclusive supper club’s high-dollar deals will be concluded with drinks.
While all of these things can be present in supper clubs today for most of us, they are only the ice in the drink and best not left too long or they will water a good drink down. It’s more than all of these things that make a supper club worth joining.
A supper club has several elements that need to be met to be qualified as a supper club:
- Private membership. At a club, be it a supper club or some other exclusive membership restrictive group, is required. There is usually a membership fee and only a certain number of memberships are sold as a rule. Often their requirements for joining income, someone recommending you, or you are part of a social or group that the supper club caters to.
- Cocktails, drinks, and alcohol are available. Even in dry counties in the USA, you can usually find alcoholic drinks available in a supper club because they are not open to the general public. While many restaurants and music clubs offer alcoholic drinks, they become something special when drunk in a supper club.
- Entertainment is a prerequisite. This does not always have to be music. While music and open mic nights can still be found in most supper clubs, they are far from the only entertainment one can find in a supper club. There are also supper clubs that have live dance shows, theatrical productions, political speeches, and even religious sermons that can be found as regular entertainment at supper clubs today.
- Silent entertainment. Yet perhaps the most unsought-after entertainment available in supper clubs is often silent. Books, board games, and puzzles can be found in supper clubs today. These entertainments can bring strangers together or allow someone on their own to enjoy their own company without feeling out of place without a companion.
- Careful selection of members. There must always be a group or aspect of society not welcome past the club’s doors. This can be the exclusion of certain types of music, attire, social opinion, politics, or some other element that the members of the supper club wish to have a safe place isolated from this element of society.
- Exclusivity. This can be a gathering of Veterans who desire a quite casual place to drink, eat and socialize with others who understand the scars under the skin that affect every aspect of their lives after they return home. Or it can be as simple as a certain type of music or political affiliation where other music or political viewpoints are not heard.
- The atmosphere is everything. No matter the type or finer elements in the supper club, they all offer an atmosphere that is unique, sought after by at least one element of society, and rewards its members with unique dining, drinking, and entertainment experience.
Often these clubs are only open a few days a week usually in the evening. But others are open to casual drinks, meetings, and lounging at other times of the day but this is generally reserved for larger urban locations that have enough members to cover the added expense.
When one enters a supper club, they should immediately be met with a lowering of the lights past the doors. This enhances the feeling of entering somewhere secluded, underground. The lounge area will immediately prove this is no regular restaurant.
Large comfortable sitting chairs, recliners, or loveseats with end tables and cocktail tables like you would find in a high-end home are not out of the norm. On the other end of the supper club spectrum, you might find cinderblocks holding garage sale lamps and furniture that would not be out of place at a flea market. In between, you may find high-tech computer holograms taking orders and robots delivering the drinks.
For decades, private supper clubs in Amsterdam offered pot smokers a special experience that the average smoke café did not. Today in America’s ever-changing social atmosphere, the range of supper clubs is ever-evolving.
While not as easy to find as the local chain restaurant with large bright signs and Google Maps displays, they are worth the hunt to find one near you.
One thing is sure, no matter what style or type of supper club you are fortunate enough to be invited to sample you are in for a uniquely entertaining experience worth checking out.
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