In the closing years of the 18th century, establishments known as Cobra Clubs appeared in the 5 major port cities. Each club was named after one of the 5 great oceans (The Pacific, The Atlantic, The Indian, The Southern and The Arctic).
Cutthroat mercenaries and mariners supposedly claimed the Cobra Clubs and they became very unfriendly places to visit as an outsider. The club named after the Indian was by far the most popular of its time. It was the only Cobra Club that was established as a neutral zone where the lawless and the law abiding could mingle under one roof.
Incredible stories of valor and virtue, deceit and treachery, were told over great meals, with ales, wines and exotic punches. These meals were prepared and inspired by travelers who descended from various regions across the Indian Ocean. Recipes and stories from their homeland influenced these great gatherings and often times a new type of cuisine was born. This club was also the only of its kind to offer entry to local patrons and citizens who were not familiar with the danger of the seas. The Indian was favored by many for well over 100 years and became a place of celebration, culture and story telling.
After the British Empire saw it’s rise and fall in the region, so too, did the infamous Cobra Clubs. The clubs were deemed unsafe for the common citizen. The clubs were dismantled and eventually demolished.
Very little is known about the true fate of The Indian. Though many believe its relics were secretly packed before demolition and sent across the globe. Some say a descendant of the original founder has kept these relics safe, with the hope of restoring the club to its original glory.
One can only speculate if any of this is true, of course. Perhaps one day my children, or my grandchildren may one day set foot inside the last Cobra Club and that it will hold true to the tradition it was known for.
- Capt. Archibald ~ The Seacloud c. 1922