History of the Club

The idea and moving force behind The Club came from a man who practically became synonymous with it: Robert S. Smith. A Birmingham native, Smith worked for 48 years at Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Company, a division of U.S. Steel, retiring in 1964 as the company’ s executive secretary. At TCI, Smith’ s responsibilities included providing entertainment, food and lodging for visiting U.S. Steel executives. In that role, he quickly learned about catering, banquet management, food service and entertainment. Smith wanted to provide visiting U.S. Steel executives with the very best, and part of his motivation was his desire to show out-of-town guests the best Birmingham has to offer. That led to his idea for a private dining club that would be second to none in the nation. Thus, his idea for The Club.

Smith and a small group of investors incorporated The Club in 1947 and when The Club opened its doors in 1951, The Club was one of its kind. Perched on top of Red Mountain with its “007” charm and sweeping panoramic views of the city, The Club is a conversation piece offering its ‘ stage’ as a unique setting for dining, entertainment, private functions, or simply to connect with others.

Created by the young and talented architect, John Davis, The Club features a distinctive and contemporary design of cantilevered roofs, white stucco walls, and parabolic forms – everything but traditional. The service and the amenities of The Club, on the other hand, take great pride in the tradition of private clubs by surpassing expectations and catering to the needs of its members. 

By the requests of membership, The Club has added two reception areas, a ballroom, several state-rooms, two more dining venues, and the necessary infrastructure to serve their operation. Today, the original Club serves as the main entrance with its porte-cochère and the now-famous neon sign that welcomes you. The Club’ s membership has wonderfully evolved over the past 65 years, including gen-y, gen-x, baby-boomers, and various socially and ethnically diverse individuals creating a membership that so perfectly represents the unique culture of Birmingham, today. The Club has been connecting Birmingham for 65 years and is constantly evolving to serve for 1,065 more.