The Club has thrived on a diet of ‘Big’ dinners over the years. Christmas dinners were the big ticket in the 1990’s, queues forming at the front door when the lists was opened. Other big events have included The Mini-Teams, Anniversaries and Sportsmen’s dinners, along with Burns Suppers. More modest events include Bistro and Curry evenings.
We have photographic evidence of Christmas dinners as far back as the 1960’s, and while they are not as popular these days (probably because there is so much more entertainment available), just occasionally the club members decide this is the time! Between the 1960’s and the 1990’s, various squash courts were converted to dining rooms, such was the pressure on seats. Court one was used several times, but the doubles court and courts six and seven in tandem were also used. There were generally two sittings, the second of which missed most of the dancing. To save time and space, on more than one occasion the starter course was served in the snooker room. In recent years, there regularly hasn’t been a sufficient audience before Christmas (due to the welter of company and private parties), but the interest resurfaces in January and February, and less formal replacement events have been held on several occasions.
Enjoy the slideshow, and if you have images to add, please contact us. Many thanks to Duncan Currie and Morton Auld for some photo recognition.
Burns Suppers have no doubt been celebrated at the club for many years, and were briefly mentioned in the 1986 history, but the genre was resurrected by your historian round 1997, when a formal event with around 80 diners was treated to the usual traditional speeches and grub. The following year, the young committee members, led by Al McKie, took charge of the speeches and a selection of bawdy alternatives was presented. Sadly, whether due to the bawdiness of for other reasons, the event was not held again until 2018. Descriptions of those occasions are recounted here, the most recent first.
The 2023 dinner, the first since 2020, saw around 75 diners enjoying splendid food and entertainment, while a further 20 on the waiting list wished they had applied earlier. Johnnie Webster reprised his role as Master of Ceremonies, with Mid-Atlantic representation for two speeches, the toast to the players from Jordan Amaral, and the Reply from the lassies by Jordan’s partner Lara Funk. Photos are shown below – the only video available at this time is sadly not of sufficient quality.
The 2020 event was once again a single table format, with a sell-out audience. The gallery shown here is a collection of images from a few of the suppers. Click on any of the images in the gallery to enable a full-sized screen show.
The 2019 event had a single table accommodating around 60 diners, again with high quality speeches and fare. The Toast to the players (the Club substitute for the Immortal Memory) was proposed by Sal Shepherd – you can read her speech here. sadly, no photos are available.
The event faded away for many years until the 2018 event, splendidly designed by Rachel Richmond and Chaired by Graham Lind. Four tables accommodating a total of 80 diners were assembled, and among the highlights was the double base and violin ladies duet (Cara Targett-Ness and Isabella Webster) which approached celestial. Dave Coutts demonstrated his poetic excellence, with an ESC Tribute. Alastair Allanach delivered what was probably to be the last ever ‘Immortal Memory’, a little more jokey than the classic delivery. Photos will be included in due course
Bistro and Curry suppers
Bistros were held fairly regularly in the 1990’s (indeed the editor recollects more than one Valentine’s Day bistro), but they fell out of favour until reintroduced around 2015. They have become a staple part of the Club’s social scene, with regular sell-out audiences of around 30. Chef Stevie (Marco Pierre) Scooter has been largely responsible for the high catering standard, with maître d’hôtel Julie Learmonth pulling the strings in the dining room.
Curry suppers have been held on three occasions in recent years, each time with a single large table. The Geriatrics got in on the act in 2019 with the same format, and only the pandemic stopped a repeat in 2020. There are a few photographs which taken together merit a slideshow.
Celebrity and ‘Football’ dinners
These now somewhat outdated events were popular for a decade or two until around twenty years ago. Attendees were treated to an excess of alcohol and food, then several speeches by a selection of well-meaning former sportsmen, Edinburgh lawyer-comics and the like. No properly-focussed photos exist, but a couple of programmes have been unearthed, and will be shown here in due course.