According to dictionary.com, a club is "An organization that offers its subscribers certain benefits, as discounts, bonuses, or interest, in return for regular purchases or payments."
While this can be defined by a number of institutions ranging from book clubs to shopping programs, the oldest record date back to the 14th century, such as La Court de Bonne Compagnie (the Court of Good Company) where members would congregate to drink and dine with likeminded companions.
These sorts of groups eventually morphed into Gentlemen's Clubs catering to the English upper middle class and aristocracy of the 18th century.
Yes, it's definitely a bit elitist, but many of these "members only" institutions still exist today.
The iconic Boca Raton Resort is one such institution.
We recently got a chance to dine at its newest sky level dining establishment The Blue - sans membership.
See Also: The Blue Opens at Boca Raton Resort