The British Raj ended in 1947, but its ‘members-only’ club culture still prevails. One such swanky club is the National Sports Club of India (NSCI) on Mathura Road, the heart of Delhi. Inaugurated by Jawaharlal Nehru in 1953, it boasts impressive acreage and amenities.
I recently spent an evening at the NSCI with my friend, Dhruv. It was my first visit here, and I was quite impressed. The numerous recreational facilities make it very attractive. Don’t be fooled by the busted signboard at the entrance, as it’s currently undergoing renovation. The refurbishment is being supervised by the architecture design firm, PSDS (Pitamber Sahni Design Studio), and will be completed in the next 6-9 months.
We bypassed the “Piano Keys” bar for the “Rock Pub”, which is run by the same people that operated “The Kitchen” restaurant in Khan Market. The other eating joint on the property is “Colonel’s Kababz”- an icon for North Indian fast food. “Giani’s” ice-cream parlour is an added attraction for foodies.
We ordered drinks off the regular menu (there was a different daily menu as well). As with all clubs, the food and alcohol is majorly subsidized. Dhruv ordered some menu staples as snacks. His favourite prawn dish was not being served, so we asked for the Hong Kong fish and the Basil and Pepper Prawn. The fish was quite tasty in a typically Chinjabi (Punjabi Chinese) way, but super spicy. Avoid this if you’re not one for spices. The prawns were yummy, with a slightly spicy and distinctly peppery flavor.
The bar closed at 11:00 p.m. sharp. No amount of coaxing or requests made them re-open it. Go early if you’re looking for a heavy night of drinking! As Dhruv pointed out, it’s a great place for a quick drink post work; or as pre-gaming for a night of partying.
I received a quick tour of the property on the way out. The large play area and sprawling lawns, make it ideal for children’s birthday parties, and general childish revelry. The unheated swimming pool was emptied for the winter season; but Dhruv tells me it’s wonderful in the summer months. I was told that the filtration system is meant for a much smaller sized pool, but with regular cleaning that shouldn’t be a problem.
Basil and pepper prawn
Guest rooms and clean shower facilities are available for use. In fact, members are entitled to stay at the club’s branch in Bombay at reasonable rates. Unlike other famous clubs of Delhi, membership periodically opens for NSCI. It’s currently closed but is expected to re-open in early 2018. The last round of memberships cost INR 11,75,000 per person, with dependent and spouse memberships. With only about 6000 members currently availing the facilities, there is scope for more.
Though membership won’t open for a few months; its location, dining options and extensive facilities certainly make it covetable.
Olympic-size Swimming Pool
Children’s Play Area
Club Rating: 4/5