Not at all. The club welcomes both audience members and performers.
See our Membership section of the website, which outlines the three membership categories, their benefits, initiation fees and dues.
A simple application form is available at the club. You will need two club members as seconds, which the Membership Committee will be happy to arrange. Credit card information, along with the initiation fee, is required when the application is submitted.
Hofbrauhaus Cleveland is the Club’s landlord under terms of a 25-year lease. It provides food and beverage services for Hermit Club dining and events. Several Hermits, through 1629 Dodge Court LLC, are investors in Hofbrauhaus Cleveland.
Hermit Club members receive a 10 percent discount on food and beverage purchases at the club or within the Hofbrauhaus space. Hermits also receive preferred access, which is a significant benefit on Friday or Saturday nights, when waiting lines are anticipated.
Like many properties in downtown Cleveland and the Flats, the Hermit Club owned its building, but the land under the building is and has been owned by Playhouse Square Foundation. A 99-year lease on this land was set to expire in the summer of 2014, at which time the Hermit Club could have moved the building or its ownership would revert to Playhouse Square Foundation. Moving the building was a cost-prohibitive option. During 2012, discussions began with Hofbrauhaus Cleveland, Playhouse Square Foundation and The Hermit Club, which led to the current Hofbrauhaus Cleveland complex that includes the Hermit Club.
The most significant changes are that the original Hermit Club kitchen was converted to restroom facilities and cooking for both Hofbrauhaus and the Hermit Club is done in a new state-of-the-art kitchen in the Hofbrauhaus section of the complex. Everything else is pretty much as it was, but all of the space has been improved with fresh paint, sanded floors in the Great Hall and restoration of wood flooring in the first-floor dining room and bar area.
Hermit Club events are closed to the general public. Only Hermits and their guests may attend Hermit events, and only Hermits and invited performers may perform in Hermit events. Portions of the Abbey remain exclusive to Hermit Club members, such as the Hermit Keller. Others are shared with Hofbrauhaus, depending on the time of day and day of the week. For example, the first-floor bar is exclusive to members from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. on weekdays. For major Hermit events, the first-floor bar, dining room and Great Hall will be exclusive to Hermits. The Great Hall is available for private parties through Hofbrauhaus. The general public pays a significant room rental fee for the Great Hall, but Hermits do not pay room rental fees for their private events held in the Great Hall.
The four mainstays of the Hermit Club are chorus (men’s and mixed), orchestra, big band jazz and drama, which are held multiple times during the course of the year. Ongoing one-time events include Showtime at the Hermit (variety show), a reverse raffle, annual themed Alley Party and Wassail Bowl on Christmas Eve. Poetry nights are conducted twice a year. Over the past several years, numerous one-time events have included Hermit Idol, Mind Games (competition with the British-American Chamber of Commerce) and several others. Club members are encouraged to propose ideas to the club’s Activities Committee for one-time events that include both performing arts and other areas of interest to members, such as Cleveland history.
During the construction shut-down, Hermits enjoyed dining reciprocity with a number of area clubs including the Union Club, Shoreby, Shaker Country Club, Canterbury Country Club, Lakewood Country Club and the Cleveland Yacht Club. Now that the club has reopened, most of these ongoing arrangements no longer exist; however, arrangements can usually be made through the club to utilize other private facilities on a limited basis.
Billing is monthly, with dues and individual dining/beverage charges listed separately. When using the club, Hermits present their membership card, which includes their membership number. An 18% tip is automatically added to food and beverage purchases. Under a master agreement, the club reimburses Hofbrauhaus daily for members’ food and beverage expenses. These expenses are tracked via the membership number and are then allocated to members according to usage at the end of each month.