For the latter-day Hells Angel:
Why join: Motorcycle clubs are as old as the Daimler Reitwagen, but this Brooklyn outfit refreshes the leather-and-facial-hair formula. Jupiter’s works on a Zipcar-esque model, renting its stable of bikes—BMWs, Ducatis, Hondas, and Triumphs—to licensed New Yorkers who lack the space, patience, or funds to maintain a hog full-time. Members, of which there are about 40, can rent or store gear at the clubhouse and take off for solo rides, but socializing is encouraged: Owner Chris Miles organizes regular caravans up to Bear Mountain and stocks the Gowanus space with beer and comfy couches where like-minded riders can swap road stories.
Getting in: Members must be 25 or over with a motorcycle license and at least three years or 3,000 miles of riding experience. Dues are $200 annually ($150 if you commit to two years), plus the cost of a rental plan, which ranges from $108 to $218 per month.
For the analog sleuth:
Center for Investigative Research
Why join: Jamie Hook, late of the Pete’s Candy Store lecture series “Open City Dialogues,” launched this underground research collective in January to provide a space for curious New Yorkers to present their findings on topics that “wouldn’t reach above the water in a Google search.” Members meet in CIR’s subterranean clubhouse, beneath the Greenpoint beer bar the Diamond, for weekly discussions on topics like an Azerbaijani guy who dreams of selling animal-shaped children’s sandwiches or the history of fan mail. New members are taught a secret handshake; lapel pins with the CIR coat of arms are in the works.
Getting in: The Center convenes every Sunday (5 to 7 p.m.) at the Diamond. All are welcome to listen or pitch their own presentations.
For the cultural vanguard:
Why join: New Yorkers who find there’s an inverse relationship between their intention to avail themselves of the city’s great artistic institutions and the time they have to do so should consider the recently launched CultureHorde. Along with organizing her own proprietary events, founder Pamela Mirels develops relationships with museums, theaters, concert venues, and other highbrow organizations to curate a cultural calendar and arrange special access for her 200 or so members. On the docket this spring: a private tour and competitive-bidding lesson at Sotheby’s and a talk with civil-liberties lawyer Alan Dershowitz. Informational e-mails distributed before each event help ensure that cultural tenderfoots are up to snuff.
Getting in: An online questionnaire asks about your cultural preferences (are you, for example, more interested in flamenco or politics?). Membership is $199 annually, and tickets to events range from $75 to $199. Members may even bring a guest.
For the progressive gourmand:
Why join: If indie outfits like A Razor, A Shiny Knife defined the late-aughts ascent of the supper club, Underground Eats represents its more recent ripening. Billing itself as a purveyor of “alternative dining experiences,” the club aggregates interesting food events around the city and throws its own over-the-top affairs exclusively for members. Among its proprietary programming: a tribute to the 1939 World’s Fair with whole hogs and a Josephine Baker impersonator staged at Sleep No More’s McKittrick Hotel, and a six-course dinner cooked by George Mendes (Aldea), David Santos (Louro), and Sean Brock (Husk in Charleston).
Getting in: Underground Eats works on a referral system: Get a member to vouch for you, and you’re in. Those without an inside hook can try their luck at applying for membership online. There is no fee to join, but most events—there are up to fifteen per month—range from $40 to $350.
For the post-Ivy club kid:
Why join: Dissatisfied with the old-world trappings of the Harvard Club, a group of young Crimson alums launched this revision of the high-end social club last spring, attracting a 400-strong membership base of fashion, finance, arts, and entertainment honchos. (Without a sparkling CV, the place can feel impenetrable, but at least you needn’t be a Harvard grad to join.) The 5,000-square-foot Soho clubhouse, with its studded leather wingbacks and walls hung with Roxanne Lowit’s eighties paparazzi pics, feels more lounge than library—which is fitting, given the party-centric programming: The place really gets going after 10 p.m., when members and their guests can reserve tables for nightly D.J.-ed bashes without fear of any velvet-roped hurdles. Regular cultural discussions and gratis dinners, sometimes prepared by Top Chef toques, figure in, too.
Getting in: A two-part screening process helps Parlor sift out the unsavories. The online application probes into your professional accomplishments, favorite travel destinations, and familiarity with local cultural institutions. Next is an in-person interview. Cinch that, pay your dues—$1,500 a year plus a quarterly beverage spend of $250—and you’re in.