Saturday, May 4, 2024

Club War Shootout


OK, so here we are, jousting with Gospel imperatives. Viz. Which of these five clubs is the best club? Namely, the NatLib, the East India, the In & Out (Naval & Military), Farmers, and the loyal and true Royal Scots. Quite the shootout, who's most in the X Ring?

For sheer Jules Verne grandeur and scale it's gotta be the NatLib. I mean for goodness sake, the place is home to Europe's largest freestanding marble staircase and its minimum ceiling height competes with Mt. Everest. Hey, those Victorians thought big and the NatLib's got one of the best preserved Victorian interiors in London. All this to say nothing of  a great Terrace and good food and drink at a very reasonable price, right there at No. 1 Whitehall. Respect, but it doesn't have rooms and's shut on weekends, also, its dress code is shocking slack. So.

The East India's smaller, better run (?) and more trad, more of a gentleman's "home from home," perhaps. It also has rooms, nice, a wildly historic location, think Waterloo, and an excellent Sunday lunch. Yes, this club's open on Sundays and is perfect for Brompton Oratory after-Mass. It does not, however, have a commanding stairwell or a Terrace. Huh. Why not let members enjoy the balconies off the Waterloo room? Too dangerous, apparently. Said no one ever in 1816.

Then there's the In & Out. You can go there after lunch at the EI on Sunday because, guess what, it's actually open on Sunday, albeit in a limited capacity, and enjoy smoking in the club's beautiful courtyard while you have a sip of the right stuff. Also, its stairwell is well put together as is the club itself. I like this place, not least for its brazen goat.

Farmers? Cheek by jowl to the NatLib lies the Farmers Club. Unpretentious, most congenial, with a lovely terrace where you can smoke and drink, this outstanding club not only has rooms in Whitehall at a ridic decent price but's also open on weekends. You can hang on their terrace sipping Bloody Mary's as you gaze at the scrum over yonder at the NatLib. Nice. It's ceilings, however, are only about 11' and it has no stairwell to speak of. 

The Royal Scots does, and I have to recommend this place. Stay, if you visit Edinburgh, at the RSC. Get a double room overlooking the park, which is opened by real keys, and enjoy the congenial, country house vibe of this beautiful club/hotel. If you're a member you get discounted rates and access to a library, sitting room and recip rights all over. Seriously, I like this place. It's regimental, think Pontius Pilate's Bodyguard, it's civilized, not pompous, overblown and awful, it's well run and has outstanding recip rights. DM if you like.

So there you have it. Which club's best? NatLib for architecture, for sure, EI for put togetherness, I&O for courtyardery, Farmers for central London congenial at the right price, and the RSC for sheer tartan awesomeness. But of course they're all good, beacons of light and civilization in a world fast descending into darkness and barbarism.

Speaking of which, the NatLib has good overwatch. Will it become, ironically perhaps, a strongpoint? Who knows. In the meanwhile, I award the Royal Scots victory in this 5 Way Club Shootout. Feel free to disagree.

Your Most Clubbable Pal,



drjim said...

Besides not owning any suitable clothing, I'm not I'd even know how to act in such magnificent places as those!

LL said...

What about the Special Forces Club in Knightsbridge? Not even an honorable mention? Ok, I'll go with Nat Lib.

Adrienne said...

Okay - I'm so insane I actually went online to all of those places. I felt most comfortable at the Farmers club. I guess I could stay at the Scotts and drink and smoke at the Farmers.

LSP said...

drjim, I'm sure you'd have a fine time! We can meet up sometime on the grand terrace of the NatLib and enjoy drinks before dinner.

LSP said...

Ah, LL, Special Forces is definitely up there with the best but this shootout only included places I visited last month.

NatLib? Good choice and my setup along with the RSC.

Word to the wise -- the RSC's remarkably good value... and offers great recip in London not that you need it, but still.

LSP said...

Good call, Adrienne! I love Farmers a lot, it's just a very pleasant place to visit. So's the RSC. But of course they're all good, each in their own way.

I think the next time I stay in London I'll get a room at Farmers (their breakfast is great, btw) and mix it up between the others, with the NatLib, two doors down, acting as a kind of HQ.

Join in with LL, drjim et al, if you can.