Hidden Houston

Behind the Scenes at Three of Houston’s Most Private Clubs

A glimpse of what the initiated aren’t missing out on at the Petroleum Club, the Briar Club and the Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa.

By Marianella Orlando October 24, 2016 Published in the November 2016 issue of Houstonia Magazine

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Clockwise from left: The Briar Club; Petroleum Club; and the Houstonia Hotel, Club and Spa

Despite being known for its welcoming, all-inclusive nature, Houston is still home to plenty of private, members-only clubs, most of which are off-limits to the public. Here’s what the initiated aren’t missing out on at the legendary Petroleum Club, swanky Briar Club, and the well-manicured Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa:


Petroleum Club

The Briar Club

The Houstonian 


1946 1949 1980


Downtown River Oaks Tanglewood


of Members

1,000+ 1,000+ 5,800


$1,500 to $5,000 $35,000 $7,500 to $28,000


$200 $400 $200 to $436

Primary Function

Business meetings, networking,
power lunching
Getting out of the house,
swimming, lounging
Fitness, spa, fitness, fitness


Your boss' boss' boss Effortlessly pretty womenand their
privately educated children
The people who pass you on the
running trail at Memorial Park

Unofficial Wardrobe

Kiton, M.Wiesenthal,
Patek Philippet
Adidas by Stella McCartney,
Tory Burch, Vineyard Vines
Lululemon, Lily Pulitzer, St. John

Most Delightful

Being able to smoke indoors
(cigars, at least)
Old-school Pac-Man console
table in the lounge
On-site shoe shines and repair

Conversation Starter

“Did you see Shell
is leaving downtown?”
"Can you recommend
a good au pair?"
"Vail or Breck?"

Excessively Proud Of

Displayed photos
of past club presidents
3D-printed model
of renovated campus
Photo of past UN meeting
at Manor House

Most Spectacular View

The chef’s table,
with a view of the kitchen
and downtown skyline
The resort-style pool,
part of a recent
$33 million renovation
The massive live oak
arrayed with 60,000
twinkling fairy lights

Best Way
to Get In

(If You're Not Rich)

Get invited to a meeting Get invited to a wedding Get invited to a spa day

Best Way
to Get In

(If You Are)

By referral only Application + sponsorship Application + sponsorship

How You'll Be Greeted
When You Get There

[First name]
Mr/s. [Surname, until granted,
first-name privilege by member]


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