If only the walls could talk: Inside the Palm Beach Yacht Club

Ever wonder what goes on at the legendary Palm Beach Yacht Club in West Palm Beach? Celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, this elite venue is considered one the of the area’s premier private clubs, with a membership roster that includes local celebrities, CEOs and politicians.

Though exclusive, the club does offer a one-time opportunity prior to applying for a membership to patronize the restaurant, renowned for its top-notch service, great food, award-winning wine selection and luscious libations.

The restaurant and bar, located at the end of a pier on the second floor of the club, features knockout panoramic views of the Intracoastal Waterway and Palm Beach. Its classic nautical design and array of old black-and-white photos create a sense of nostalgia that affirms the club’s historical stature, dating back to the days when the Flaglers and Carnegies were members.

The bar crowd, which often consists of some high-profile personalities, has been known to get quite spirited on occasion. You may have heard some of the stories that have been featured in local gossip columns over the years and are still talked about today.

Executive Chef Bill Somers, known for his refined and inventive cooking style, recently received the Chaines De Rotisseurs Award from the International Gastronomic Society. His club has a continental menu, with lots of classic choices such as steak tartare, rack of lamb, Atlantic swordfish and a traditional surf and turf. In addition to using lots of local, fresh ingredients, Somers’ dishes feature one important component: imported seasonal ingredients ranging from Italian Alba white truffles to Jersey beefsteak tomatoes.

I recently had an opportunity to dine there with some friends who are members. The bar was jammed, and its ambiance exuded an intimate, friendly vibe. I tried the homemade ravioli appetizer, which was stuffed with fresh crabmeat and lightly topped off with a lobster brandy sauce. It was scrumptious. For my main course, I ordered one of the featured specials — a 14-ounce New York strip steak. The temperature was perfect and the steak was superb.

The club features the typical seasonal theme nights, such as “Lobster Mania” on Mondays and Tuesdays and “Wednesday on the Waterfront,” all offering specially priced three-course dinners. A private dining room, available with a member referral, accommodates up to 28 people for parties and business meetings. In addition to other benefits, the membership also offers reciprocal privileges with a number of local golf, tennis and country clubs and more than 1,000 yacht clubs worldwide.

Still going strong on its centennial anniversary, the Palm Beach Yacht Club has successfully evolved in meeting the high standards of its patrons on numerous levels. Today, it remains one of the area’s oldest and most prestigious private clubs, a suitable distinction for an establishment founded by the legends who contributed to the fabled history of the Palm Beaches.

For more information, visit their web site at www.pbyc.com.

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