From memberships to a bronze rat, Roop fills us in on the old and the new at the Hermit Club.
Role call: Steep fees and an invite-only policy left the club with dwindling funds. Now, three tiers of membership — which start at a one-time $250 payment followed by $50 monthly dues — have made it affordable and added benefits such as a 10 percent discount on all Hofbrauhaus food and access to the Hermit Club's private bar each weekday until 7 p.m. The catch: You have to be in one of the club's performing groups. "We've lost a little bit in the way of exclusivity," Roop says. "But we've gained a whole lot in terms of affordability."
Upstagin' crustaceans: Since the club started in 1904, one item that has continued to perform on the Hermit Club's menu is lobster bisque. When an early version had too much crab overpowering the delicate lobster, the club's board worked with Hofbrauhaus chef Oleg Makhayev to perfect the recipe. "Unless they follow the recipe, they can't call it the Hermit Club bisque," says Roop.
Rat pack: A lot of Hermit Club myths have been passed down over nearly 100 years, including the tale of a rat who hung out around the club. The legend says that when the rat died, it was bronzed and installed in a hole by the building's front door (now the back of the complex). But Roop thinks it's just a nod of whimsy from architect and club founder Frank B. Meade. "I think [he] had a certain amount of — maybe humor, maybe sleight of hand," laughs Roop. 1629 Dodge Court, Cleveland, 216-621-2337, thehermitclub.org