The idea of exclusive gender based clubs like men’s clubs came into the for in the 19th century. It is a creature of the Victorian era popular amongst the British. Clubs were created to be exclusive institutions for men with a shared interest and they all have a unique personality. They were either super stuffy or infamously raucous.
There was gambling in most clubs, a lot of cigar drinking and smoking. Men would be up all night playing games of chance. While some robust discussion would be had and business deals struck, most of what happened was meant to be fun. At first, women weren’t allowed, Melbourne men’s clubs were bastions of masculinity. When you look at it really, men’s clubs came about in a deeply repressive era. They evolved to overcome societal repressions especially between the sexes. The introduction of women in men’s clubs was a result of strict ideas that women were required to behave. They were prim and proper and regarded sex as a means for procreation. There were brothels of course but these were regarded by some discerning gentlemen as demeaning and beneath them.
Fast toward to the present day. The title “men’s clubs” or “gentlemen’s clubs” are used interchangeably with “strip clubs”.
It can be confusing these days to tell what the true meaning of a men’s club in Melbourne is as there are so many establishments that attach the name Gentlemen’s club when all they don’t seem to have that gentlemanly personality.
Men’s clubs were always exclusive private, private members only establishments. Members paid a lot of money to belong but membership wasn’t just about the money but you could only be a member by invitation and you would have to be interviewed and vetted before you could be part of the establishment.
The secretive nature of men’s clubs makes sure that what happens in the club stays in the club.
The CUB Club came onto the scene in 2014. This members only club changed some of the ideas about what a private men’s club should be like. While most of the old establishments forbid talking business and encourage fun and relaxation the CUB Club encourages professional camaraderie and encourages members to seek ultimate networks within its walls. The private clubhouse often acts as a co-working space
The Kelvin Club
The Kelvin Club dates back to 1865. The club promotes professions connections but sticks to the “all work and play makes Jack a dull boy”. For members, the Kelvin Club is an oasis of relaxation or a quiet an conducive space to get some work done away from everything else.
The Melbourne Club
This is probably the oldest men’s club in Melbourne. It has a long held reputation of being extremely snobbish. Back in the mid 1800’s when the gold rush was at its peak, members of the Melbourne Club regarded the miners who struck it rich in the gold rush as nouveau riche and not worth giving membership to. There are about 1,500 men who are members. They have access to a very valuable library, an impressive celled and other amenities.
The Australian Club
The Australian Club is arguably the distinguished private men’s club in Melbourne. To become a member of the club, you need a recommendation by four members. The club has architecture and decor is lavish and luxurious. Everything is grand and ornate – very Victorian.
There are no female nude performers at these clubs which is what distinguishes them from the Gentlemen’s clubs like Dreams Gentlemen’s Clubs, Spearmint Rhino Gentlemen’s Club, Maxine’s Gentlemen’s Club and other establishments. However, these old school clubs with their rules and strict membership policies are likely to attract the same amount of patronage as the Gentlemen’s Clubs like bar 20.