1. The Harvard Club of Boston
374 Commonwealth Ave.
Details: Open to Harvard alums, employees, and their relatives, the club does offer entry to anyone (sans a Harvard degree) willing to drop up to $6 million on one of its new condos, built to finance a recent renovation.
Classic moment: Dick Cheney had to sneak in through the back door for a speaking engagement in 2006 due to the throngs of protesters.
2. The Algonquin Club
217 Commonwealth Ave.
Details: Like Fight Club, if you’re in Algonquin, you don’t talk about Algonquin. Word is the mortgage was burned long ago and its ashes were placed in a tiny box next to the main fireplace in the reading room.
Presidential power: Calvin Coolidge.
Pretend power: Clark Rockefeller.
3. St. Botolph Club
199 Commonwealth Ave.
Details: Founded for black-sheep bluebloods (those moody creative types), the club’s foundation gives away approximately $75,000 a year in grants to young New England musicians, painters, poets, and writers.
Artistic bona fides: The roster includes John Quincy Adams, John Singer Sargent, and Robert Frost.
4. The College Club of Boston
44 Commonwealth Ave.
Details: Once a haven for well-bred Wellesley and Smith grads, this elaborate brownstone now serves as a hub for the Lean In crowd.
Male presence: Literary visitors have included Mark Twain and Vladimir Nabokov.
5. Somerset Club
42 Beacon St.
Details: The stone wall with security detail out front underscores this club’s rep as the snootiest of the bunch. When a fire broke out in the kitchen in the 1940s, firemen had to enter through the servants’ entrance to avoid disrupting the ladies and gents lunching in the dining room.
Notable guests: Nathaniel Hawthorne and Theodore Roosevelt have graced the Somerset’s hallowed halls.
6. Club of Odd Volumes
77 Mount Vernon St.
Details: Think: bibliophiles, books, and bow ties. “They are the epitome of the stereotypical old-world, elegant, intellectually curious Bostonians,” says one club visitor. The interior is like a time machine: An ancient black rotary telephone still adorns the coat room.
Making history: Winston Churchill stopped by for a visit in 1949.
7. Union Club of Boston
8 Park St.
Details: During the Civil War, members of the Somerset Club split along political lines. In response, Somerset defectors formed the Union Club, which demanded “unqualified loyalty to the constitution and the Union of our United States, and unwavering support of the Federal Government in effort for the suppression of the rebellion.”
Lineage: Past members include Ralph Waldo Emerson and Josiah Quincy.