Chicago’s Most Prestigious Private Clubs

When I think of private clubs in Chicago, I think of wood-paneled rooms, cigar smoke and men in suits talking business over a fine single malt.  But these days, the clubs in town are competing to attract the next generation. They have wifi, sliders on the menu and pool tables so the younger set feel at home.Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

This week I had cocktails at one of the largest and most respected of the bunch, the Union League Club. My hosts were two friends who seemed to fit in nicely, one a precious metals trader and the other a junior partner at Big Law firm in the loop.  I passed a Monet as I headed to meet them in the club room.  To my surprise, there were a lot of members in their late twenties to mid thirties having an after-work beer with their ties loosened. We ordered Manhattans and they explained why the perks of belonging to a private club. This is where they entertain clients, arrange private dinners, find friends to play squash or golf with, and put up friends to stay coming in from out of town.

I took a look at some of the other private clubs in town to see how they stacked up. I wanted to know how to get in, how much it costs, and what kind of events they had. Some of this information the clubs keep hidden, but below is what I could find out:

Union League Club of Chicago65 W. Jackson Blvd.; 312-427-7800, ulcc.orgwatch The Lost City of Z 2017 movie online now

  • Founded: 1879
  • Total membership: 2,500
  • Younger membership (under 35): approximately 250
  • Dues: $235 per month, $1,250 initiation fee
  • Younger member dues: $70-$188 per month, $250-$500 initiation fee
  • Younger member programming: Twice-monthly happy hours, six-week squash clinic
  • Event they’re known for: Homecoming Gala
  • How to get in: You have to be sponsored by 2 existing members, provide 3 personal references and be approved by the board of directors


University Club of Chicago – 76 E. Monroe St.; 312-726-2840,

  • Total membership: 2,244
  • Younger membership (under 35): approximately 260
  • Dues: $245 per month, $1,500 initiation fee
  • Younger member dues: $98-$147 per month, $500 initiation fee
  • Younger member programming: Monthly cocktail parties, luncheons with speakers
  • How to get in: They require a university or college degree from a four year institution, nomination form, letters from three existing members, and in interview with the Committee on Admissions
  • Event they’re known for: New Year’s Day Party


The Cliff Dweller’s Club – 200 S. Michigan Avenue; 312-922-8080,

  • Founded: 1907
  • Membership: approx. 400
  • Purpose: Designed for men and women either professionally engaged in, or who support, the fine arts and the performing arts.


Mid-America Club – E. Randolph Drive; 312-861-1100,

  • Total membership: 1,600
  • Younger membership (under 40): 350
  • Dues: $130 per month, $500 initiation fee
  • Younger member dues: $87 per month, $300 initiation fee
  • Younger member programming: Golf outings, rooftop parties, wine tastings.


The Standard Club – 320 S Plymouth Ct; (312) 427-9100,

  • Founded: 1869
  • Known for: Fine and private dining
  • How to get in: The Standard club requires sponsorship from three existing members
  • Event they’re known for: Boxing Night

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