Private club restaurants
After reading a review on WG by woojink who offered, "One of the best meals outside of the private clubs (some, not all)" or some such, I of course wanted to know "What clubs?! Who's the chef? How much to get in??"
Any high rollers on CH (*cough-russkar-cough*) fill us mere mortals in?
There are at least three big private clubs in downtown LA that serve food and provide other amenities to members. The Jonathan Club (http://www.jc.org/ ), the California Club (http://www.californiaclub.org/ ) and the City Club (http://www.icityclub.com/ ). There used to be (and may still be for all I know) an LA Athletic Club and a University Club, but I don't really know anything about those.
Both the Jonathan Club and the California Club are old line businessmen's clubs; they have beautiful facilities (including gyms, several restaurants, private meeting rooms, and even some hotel facilities). They also both have really amazing collections of California plein aire paintings. The JC also has a facility at the beach in Santa Monica. The food at both is good, but not, in my judgment, in the same league as the Water Grill.
The City Club occupies the top floors of one of the downtown skyscrapers, and so has absolutely remarkable views of the city. No art collections, and no athletic facilities, I believe, but the food is, I think, the best of the three. Still not as good as the WG, in my opinion though. If I were going to host a big fancy wedding or some such, this place would be one of my top picks; the food is very good, and the views are TDF.
Joining any of these clubs is a somewhat involved process, generally involving interviews, referrals from existing members, and usually, a multi-thousand dollar buy in. They are not the type of club one would typically join just for the food.
Thinking woojink's reference may be to the City Club, Jonathon Club, California Club, etc. - have been to each at some point in my recent and distant past as a guest on the coattails of Someone Else's Membership and enjoying the benefits of Their Privileges. (Dad belongs to City Club @ top of the Well's Fargo (always changing names)? tower downtown ...so I get invited at least once a year). City Club food is excellent, view is spectacular - the bar faces due west so it's the perfect place to be to watch the sunset- ambiance is reserved, lots of style with impecable service...but actually, given a choice, I'd pick the Watergrill because of the mood and variety on the menu. California Club food has been okay, nothing brilliant nor approaching City Club....Jonathon C. has always been beach party buffet food or someone's wedding, so not really a fair comparison. Each club exhibits its own style and clientele...no surprise...