It is one of the oldest members' clubs in the world and since its inception has catered to members such as Charles Kean, Henry Irving, Herbert Beerbohm Tree, Arthur Sullivan, Laurence Olivier, Raymond Raikes, Stephen Fry and John Gielgud. From the literary world came writers such as Charles Dickens, H. G. Wells, J. M. Barrie, A. A. Milne, and Kingsley Amis. The visual arts have been represented by painters such as John Everett Millais, Lord Leighton and Dante Gabriel Rossetti.
In 1956 the rights to A. A. Milne's Pooh books were left to four beneficiaries: his family, the Royal Literary Fund, Westminster School and the Garrick Club.
The club operates a men-only membership policy. Several past attempts to open the club to women members have failed to attain the necessary two-thirds majority. The most recent poll, in mid-2015, garnered a 50.5% majority.