Tucked innocuously beneath the busy Begumpet flyover, the Country Club is definitely not for those looking to escape the hustle-bustle of city life. The gates of the club are forbidding, and any confusion with the Central Jail is understandable. A particularly pothole-ridden road leads up to the Club. Not the best of first impressions, but things do get better.
Amid sprawling lawns is the 100-year-old clubhouse, now owned by the Amrutha Castle folks
, but once home to the prime minister of the Nizam, Nawab Wali Ud Doula. The Hyderabad Club was set up in 1989 when the local club scene was still dormant.
The Country Club chain is affiliated to more than 200 other clubs in India, such as the more popular country clubs in Mumbai or the smaller City Club in Ahmedabad. Affiliations with international clubs like St. James in London allow members (only) access to various other clubs at home or away. The Country Club has found its way into the Limca Book of Records (2002) as the largest club chain in India.
Limca is far from being the beverage of choice here, though. True to its urban reputation, the bar serves up drinks till 11pm in the night. The food is edible, but the poor lighting might make it difficult to tell your butter chicken from your kadai paneer. The service is really quick if you are club-royalty or accompanied by someone who is. Otherwise, it could take up to an hour for your order to materialise.
When Country Club isn't organising one of its Ghazal or Qawwali Nights, bands of mosquitoes on the lawn provide the necessary background music. On the whole, CC is not a top restaurant, bar or even the best club money can buy. It's a place where the city's well-heeled meet and take time off from work. Its variety of facilities and central location makes this club ideal for an evening of activity at short notice; whether it's a quick drink, an emergency manicure or a brisk lap in the pool.Sports:
Among many facilities, the club offers an air-conditioned gym, a shooting gallery, snooker tables, and a beauty parlor, La Belle Femme. Sports enthusiasts kill time and flab on the floodlit tennis courts or the indoor squash courts, or unwind with table tennis or aerobics. The swimming pools located at the rear end of the club however offer the best respite.Food:
The club has two open-air restaurants, one of which is a dhaba. A Chinese restaurant and attached bar function on the first floor. Corporate functions/weddings can be hosted in any of the three conference halls, of which the Qutub Shahi is the largest.Membership:
Permanent Membership requires a down payment Rs. 12,500, with monthly renewals of Rs. 200; Lifetime Membership is Rs. 15,000 in down payment, with quarterly renewals of Rs. 250. Corporate Memberships are also available.