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The Zenith Club Takes Over The Yacht Club
Posted 1/16/2011

Article By: Renee Haynes-Johnson

Driving down Smallman Street from the East I wasn’t sure I was going to the right place when I turned onto 32nd Street. Is this still “The Strip District”? Across the railroad tracks I went along looking for “24”. I spotted some blue lights to the left at the end of the street and knew that had to be the place. It was right there at the Allegheny River! And I never knew Restaurant Depot was down there either!!! It was early Saturday evening, ~ 9PM. I wanted to experience the Club’s essence without the influence of personalities.

I was escorted to a corner platform seating area along the river to wait for Ron Perkins, president of THE ZENITH CLUB. It was one of several intimate seating arrangements scattered around the site. Behind me were naked windowed walls, excellent for a panoramic view of the city from Washington’s Landing, directly behind the Club, where boats will be docked during the summer season all the way down to the Inclines, Mount Washington, and all the bridges in between. It was an impressive vista with the lights of nighttime Pittsburgh. The ripple of the river’s current was nearly hypnotic. Later, when Ron assured me the Gateway Clipper fleet also passed by this location, it was enough to make my heart race. In front of me lay a room centered by a long narrow metallic bar set at an angle with padded stools along each side. Along another windowed wall a side door opens onto a patio where café seating and two outdoor bars lie dormant for the season.

When I asked Ron why he chose to open his club way down here? His answer was “LOCATION! LOCATION! LOCATION!” He liked that it’s off the beaten path because he’s not trying to offer a beaten path experience at Zenith. He says Zenith is not for everyone. It’s for the mature, responsible, members of the community, 25 and up, who are interested in a safe healthy environment, and want to enjoy an evening’s entertainment in an atmosphere where you can network with people a lot like you. He wants to attract everyday, working, good people to this affordable place where the drinks are not expensive.

When asked why he initially presented his club as THE YACHT CLUB, he said people identify with landmarks. This is where the YACHT CLUB was located. Hopefully this would make it easy for some people to know where he’s located. It also allowed, he said, for interchange and dialogue with people who were interested in what he’s doing.

So, what is THE ZENITH CLUB and is it new? Zenith is similar to the Moose and Elk clubs and was incorporated in Pennsylvania in 1936. It was originally located on 5th Avenue and Grant Street in downtown Pittsburgh and its members have been doctors and pharmacists. The club maintains its commitment to health and fitness awareness. Ron was approached by members of ZENITH who were aware of Ron’s physical fitness activities. The organization was looking for new life. Ron has been President of THE ZENITH CLUB for the past two years and has been placed in a position of trust and given credibility and opportunity to expand their interests. Ron was quick to tell me he’s no doctor or pharmacist but, from what I could see, Ron exemplifies healthy living and physical fitness!

He says he’s interested in providing creative ways for the members to enjoy THE ZENITH CLUB, like theme nights. We tossed around ideas like “Hawaiian night” and “Linen Night”. He said he’d be interested in knowing what the membership wants because it’s not his idea or no idea.

I got my free membership that night. You’re going to want to hurry up and get yours because open membership is closing soon!

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