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Best Old-School Social Club 

The Colombo Club

The point of a social club ought to be to have fun, and that's the name of the game at Oakland's Colombo Club, an outfit dating back to 1920 when Italian immigrant quarrymen in the area pined for home. This exclusive male private club, which attracts a sea of cars on most Thursday and Saturday nights, is where locals with Italian roots or interests come to eat, drink, sing, dance, laugh, and generally cut up (watch out for that old guy with the giant fork who steals food off members' plates). Said to be one of the largest and most active Italian-oriented clubs in America, the Colombo claims some nine hundred members and regards itself as an Italian social center. It celebrates family and traditional values such as patriotism, and holds in highest regard the well-being of its members and the community. Like most clubs, this one does some good works, providing scholarships to graduating seniors whose parents or grandparents are members in good standing. Alas, it's a fraternity the curious likely can't get into — unless they can find a current member as a sponsor. Too bad; these old guys know how to party.

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