Well, that was fast. Eight days after we questioned the legality of Stoddard’s men-only Friday Club, the restaurant has pulled an about-face. Owner William Ashmore has issued a statement, reprinted in full below, indicating that the Friday Club will be members-only, but those members will include women. How progressive! What’s next? Suffrage?
“Our goal at STODDARD’S FINE FOOD & ALE is to provide an authentic dining and drinking atmosphere that recalls a by-gone era. In the 1800’s, the term “gentlemans club” was used to identify many types of private clubs, smoking lounges and eating establishments. Our research unearthed one in particular – The University Boston Club (circa 1855) – that met on Fridays at a Tremont Street location around the corner from STODDARD’S. Its self-stated mission was ‘… to delight in the art of dining, and to take freely in after-dinner discussion without malice or irritation.’
In homage to our convivial neighbors of 1855, there will be a members-only component to The Friday Club at STODDARD’S. The club’s founding members are free to choose additional members as they see fit. Naturally, women are free to join, and to visit as guests. All members sign a code of conduct promising to ‘maintain an environment of respect and consideration for others’.”
Earlier: Is Stoddard’s Men-Only Club Legal?