When Society Lounge opened a short walk from my office, I badly wanted to go. However, with most of our post-work meetings happening on the other side of downtown and the now-6 degree weather keeping me from wanting to walk anywhere, I hadn’t had a chance to get there yet.
Well, I can’t think of any better reason to go than to celebrate Repeal Day.
When I opened my mailbox last month to find a glittery art-deco-inspired invitation to their Repeal Day party, Scott and I dug out our “finest” pearls and top hat to raise a glass in honor of the 80th anniversary of Prohibition’s end. Make that four glasses because the cocktails were that good.
So we found ourselves on E4th last Thursday in front of Society Lounge’s velvet ropes, frosted glass door and doorman. If anyone’s watching Mob City right now, it reminded me a bit of the old, glitzy night clubs featured in TNT’s new series. The front entrance has a flair for the dramatic, which gets you in the mood for what awaits at the bottom of their staircase.
As the hostess took our coats and opened the door to the lounge, we were immediately enveloped by its nostalgic glamour. Low lighting and dark colors. Rich, plush couches and chairs. A large, beautiful bar as the centerpiece.
And why shouldn’t the bar be the centerpiece? Because behind it stood a small army of skilled bartenders.
The event’s menu featured drinks from the Prohibition era. Popular classics like the Old-Fashioned and French 75 were served up, along with El Presidente (which is very fun to say after a couple of drinks), Monkey Gland, and Scofflaw.
Fitting for a Repeal Day party, the menu had both pre- and post-Prohibition Old-Fashioneds. Although I’m happy I tried the pre-Prohibition’s rye, sugar cube and bitters recipe, I’ll take the dressed up Old-Fashioned I know and love.
The Scofflaw, though, was far-and-away my favorite of the evening.
Thankfully, the menu shed some history on this new-to-me drink. When anti-saloon members held a contest to come up with the best word to shame Volstead Act violators, boozlag, hooch-snipper, and law-loose-liquor-lover were only a few of the 25,000 entries that poured in. However, scofflaw beat them all out, and in doing so birthed a new cocktail at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris.
Made of rye whiskey, dry vermouth, lemon juice, and Society’s house grenadine, what I loved about this drink was how unexpectedly smooth it was. Although there was that delicious, sharp bite of rye, the sweetness balanced it out and made it a
very too easy cocktail to drink.
The bartenders’ attention to detail combined with the fresh-squeezed juices and made-from-scratch syrups made each drink a work of art. Sadly, they were fleeting masterpieces since we sipped them up quickly.
Society Lounge’s full menu is organized by type of alcohol, so whether you prefer vodka, gin, whiskey, brandy, rum, tequila, or all of the above, you’ll quickly find a cocktail to your liking, as well as tapas to go with them.
They even offer a Temperance Menu if you want to take in the experience minus the booze. WhyCLE and baby-WhyCLE celebrated Repeal Day with The Buzz (local honey, grapefruit, and orange water) and The Brown Cow (house-made root beer syrup, heavy cream, and soda water).
Jen was kind enough to let me taste both and although I loved the strong taste of honey in The Buzz, I would go back to order The Brown Cow. How can you say no to a rootbeer float minus the ice cream headache?
The swing band, dancers, and a champagne toast were the final touches for the perfect Repeal Day party.
I’m not ready to give up modern comforts (or, you know, medical advances) to go back in time to the 1930s; however, an after-work trip to Society Lounge is perfect for a quick fix.
Society Lounge is open Monday through Saturday at 5pm. Check out their entertainment calendar to see who’s performing. Upcoming events include piano players, jazz singers, and swing bands. They also are offering some great music and champagne toast specials for New Year’s Eve. Call 216.781.9050 to purchase tickets for this limited capacity event.