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The Tower Club, Members-Only Club on Tower Crescent Drive in Tysons Corner

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Yes, I know that the Tower Club is a private club, but anyone can be invited as a guest, and it happens to be one of the better places to eat and drink in the Tysons wasteland, so why not start a thread on it? Besides, if you're in the IT industry, there's likely to be a networking event at either the Tower or City Clubs that might draw you here. It's on the top floor of the tall brick building in Tysons that looks like it has two shopping bag handles on top.

I used to be a member -- at that time a few years ago, the Tower Club in Tysons was also part of the ClubCorp group that included the City Club at Franklin Square and the City Club at Columbia Square. My favoriite of all three was the cozier Franklin Square, but it has since closed. The economic downturn led to cancelled memberships (like mine) and Franklin became a casualty. The City Club is ideal for the pre-Theater crowd, given its location at roughly 13th and F Sts.

The Tower Club (and to a certain extent, the City Club), cater to IT executives and the legal community. Lobbyists and The Hill crowd have their own establishments. Tower and City make a lot of money on events like Holiday parties and well-heeled weddings, so that might be what's keeping the doors open. For sure, it's not the sparse crowds at lunch or dinner.

I was a guest at the Tower Club two nights ago, and I can offer the following observations. First, the view is breathtaking, towering (as it were) over all of Tysons and for miles all around. Cigar smokers use the porch that wraps around the club to sip martinis and watch the traffic cross the Cabin John, to gauge their commute home. The 4th of July events at the Tower Club are popular because you can see the fireworks from Reston, Fairfax and downtown from that porch.

The bar area is a tidy little area where the drinks are poured generously and the happy hour nibbles are enough to tide you over until you want dinner....which finally, after all these words, brings me to the food....

I wouldn't eat here on purpose. The service is gracious and nicely choreographed, and there's even a mint with your name on it waiting for you at the dinner table. But dinner -- prime rib for my host and stuffed Dover sole for me -- was in the edible but not at all memorable category. The Dover sole was pleasant enough, but a bit dried out and with what attempted to be crab stuffing but was almost flavorless.

I can say much the same for many business lunches I've had here and in the City and Franklin Clubs. Think hotel food -- not the Cityzen hotel food, but maybe your typical Marriott or Hilton hotel food. I don't think I've ever eaten at any of their establishments without a flaw or two in every meal.

On the other hand, I think the breakfast buffet at the Tower Club is one of the better deals around. For under $10 (only members can pay, so that makes it an even better deal for guests), the buffet has eveything you might want, even including an omelet station, and bagel with lox and all the toppings.

Both of these Clubs have the atmosphere of a morgue. They are quiet, I'll hand that to them, but you almost feel uncomfortable saying anything....or responding to your host who invariably will say "Everything here is good." But my suggestion is to accept any invitation fo breakfast and suggest another venue for lunch or dinner.

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In my former career, I worked for an IT company. I was a guest at the Tower Club a number of times. I totally agree about the hotel rubber chicken food. I did enjoy the warm cookies in the lobby. : )

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