14 West Hamilton Street Club
Club lunches offer an innovative and tasty international menu, drawing on local growers and artisans. A typical lunch includes a first course, entrée, cheese course, and dessert, along with the Chef’s famous popovers or another home-baked bread. The carryout menu is similar, with portions for two. With notice to the Chef, dietary restrictions can be accommodated.
The Club maintains a full bar, featuring small family-owned estate wineries and distillers. Wine for takeout is available by the bottle (or case for the thirsty or sociable).
NECESSITY CREATES OPPORTUNITY
When the pandemic forced the closure of public spaces in March 2020, the Club’s Board and staff moved quickly to maintain a vibrant program for members and protect the viability of the organization. A combination of virtual programming and a take-out menu proved extremely popular, and we believe these continuing improvements will make the Club stronger in the years to come.
The Club is now fully reopened. Covid-19 precautions continue to be taken very seriously. The Club will follow the federal, state, and local directives to prevent COVID transmission.
The “Single Conversation”
The heart of the Club is its member table lunches. There is generally “one conversation” at lunch which is likely to touch on a broad range of topics. Guests are welcomed and encouraged at all Club lunches and events.
Guests are often asked to comment informally on something they find of interest, which can lead to spirited though pleasant conversation. As one member recently said, “I’ve rarely left the table without being informed or entertained, generally both.”
Members and guests gather at around 12:30 for drinks and conversation, lunch is served at 1:00, all done by 2:00 or so. Spouses and partners of members have the privilege of attending Club meals and events on their own.
Dinners and some lunches include more formal talks by invited speakers, sometimes preceded by behind-the-scene cultural and curatorial tours in the Mt. Vernon district.
Subjects are wide-ranging: Baltimore history, current events and areas of civic interest and concern, new books, the arts, law, higher education, and scientific or academic subjects—all geared toward a non-specialist, but informed Club member.
Programs are generally held on the second and fourth Wednesday evenings or at brunch on the third Saturday of each month.
Members are encouraged to suggest speakers or themes for the formal programs, including members themselves in our “Members Speak” series. While the formal evening speakers list is often settled several months in advance, Announced Guests at lunch are welcome at any time.
A Club Newsletter goes out to the full membership via e-mail at the start of every month. Weekly emails and the club calendar provide information on all upcoming club events.
Parties & Special Events
The Club is open eleven months a year, from Labor Day Wednesday through the end of July.
Annual parties include a New Members celebration in September, the Holiday Party in December, the Mint Julep Party in Spring, and a Summertime Garden Party at a member’s residence or historic house.
Recent cocktail parties at members’ homes have supplemented the Club’s programming.
Club Programming quickly enlisted state-of-the-art technology that enables hybrid gatherings, combining on-site participants with colleagues joining in from remote locations. In addition, Noon Zoom, a virtual version of the “single-conversation” luncheon table, enables conversation among those not able to be at the club in person and has spawned several special-interest groups focusing on book discussions, current events, and history.
Using a combination of Club takeout meals, Noon Zoom gatherings, and dinner & lecture events, the Club has been able to maintain an active program during the pandemic.