Wednesday, February 17, 2010
The Violet Hour: my night at a speak-easy.
Whilst in Chicago over this years frigid Valentines Day weekend, our friend Todd King took Lindsey and I too a bar/lounge what-have-you, called The Violet Hour. This life-goal accomplished is set-up the way a traditional speak-easy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speakeasy) would have been decades before.
Let me set the scene for you.
Mily (Todd's roommate), Todd, Linds, and I get off the bus (which we narrowly avoided dying on, at the hands of a man who was the grown up equivalent of Pig-Pen and had a giant green bag of coke), walk a few steps down the street, then suddenly hear Todd calling to us from behind, "Go. Go! Go! In here. Turn in here."
The graffiti-ed wall without any sign of a door handle has magically opened and we are rushed inside. Lindsey and I, of course, are a bit cautious. Control freaks don't like to be pushed into random unlit rooms that appear, seemingly out of nowhere. The first room is almost completely dark. Huge thick curtains run from the very high ceiling down. We pass through the curtains. Another small room, now realized is part of a hallway. We are left standing in this room while Todd goes to give a very well dressed man with a huge purple scarf our phone number. They will call us if anything comes available.
We go to a little diner down the street, watch The Frank Sinatra show by a fireplace, and wait. For 1 and 1/2 hours.
The phone finally rings.
We have a table.
Arriving back at The Violet Hour, there is now a line of people that stretches down the block waiting (presumably for hours in the freezing cold) to get in.
We go back through the hole in the wall door and weird waiting area. The third and final set of gi-normous curtains reveals a dimly lit, chandelier be-dazzled, ridiculously high-backed chair filled room of glory. Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra, and Dean Martin, play in the background. This lounge is not large, but it makes quite an impression. There is an air of literal fabulous-ness hovering. The walls are a robins egg blue, maybe a little darker, accented with white crown molding. All the chairs are arranged very intimately in clusters of 2 and 4 with small white tables in the middle-- there is little more than a candlelight glow. In fact, the waitresses carry candles on their serving trays. There is a list of rules in the bathrooms, one of which states "Do not bring anyone to The Violet Hour that you wouldn't bring to your mother's house for Sunday dinner."
We ordered appetizers and champagne cocktails, and just sat back and enjoyed the whole experience. It was divinity.