The Rainier Club has long been considered the most elite private club in Seattle. As one of the city’s oldest institutions, it has a long history in its ivory-covered building on 4th Avenue downtown. I was a member for several years, but my review is a couple of years old. It is possible that updates and renovations have been made since I last visited.
The Rainier Club Feel
The Rainier club is stately, but in need of a decor renovation to keep it feeling fresh and modern. Club members skew older, but with a decided campaign to bring in younger faces.
The feel is old world luxury, but make it Seattle casual. The club has rules about dress and where cell phones are allowed, but it’s a welcoming, friendly space. The staff gets to know you quickly and is eager to respond to suggestions.
The club is centered around committees with common interests like literature, wine, law, entrepreneurs, and more. Anyone can join committees, which meet regularly. In addition, there are club-wide social activities that are the real reason to maintain a membership.
Though the club has common spaces for things like coworking, a lounge, the formal dining rooms, and a sports bar, this landmark-designated building feels in transition. The Club is working to modernize and maintain relevance to attract a younger clientele, but the transformation feels a little awkward at times.
Each of the major events – a winter holiday party, spring eggstravaganza, and Mother’s Day brunch, among others, are the ideal way to celebrate the seasons without the crowds. The winter party features a private Santa with idyllic backdrop. While the lines for Santa will find you even in a private club, so will drinks and snacks for kids and parents alike to keep you busy while you wait.
The Rainier Club also has reciprocal relationships with dozens of private clubs around the world. That means wherever you travel, you can enjoy exclusive experiences not open to the regular visitor.
Overall, The Rainier Club a wonderful, private and somewhat formal “third space” for those working downtown or looking to experience upscale, memorable holiday parties you can’t get anywhere else in Seattle. Membership is for you if you value art, interesting speakers and cultural events. If you want a multi-generational space for meeting influential people outside your normal bubble, this is it.
How to Get into the Rainier Club
The Rainier Club has a membership process that includes a tour of the building and a personal point of contact to help you see where a membership would fit in your life. You have to be sponsored for membership by a current member. The membership team can help connect you with current members if you don’t have a sponsor in mind already.
There is a review process by the membership committee, and if your nomination is recommended, your profile will be posted to all existing members for review and comment. If there are no objections, your nomination is accepted. There is a one-time initiation fee.
Once in, there is a minimum food and beverage spend per month, in addition to your club dues. There are other optional fees such as valet parking, which is capped after a certain point per month. There is also a gym with monthly fees that include a private locker and laundry service. Private events can be arranged with a minimum food and beverage spend based on the room size and number of people in attendance. The events and catering team are spectacular and can accommodate even the grandest wishes.
Seattle Eastside Date Night Ideas
Not ready to take the leap into Rainier Club membership? It is a great spot for a cozy date night, but we’ve got lots of other ideas. Check out our list of unique date night ideas on the Eastside or go in-depth on the best wine tasting experience in Woodinville.