The Vesper Club Opens and Yes, I’m going to say it’s a Game Changer. Super nice, supper club, lounge

It seems that the City is going through a club cultural change the past few years. A decade ago the focus was on the Delaware Ave clubs, then nightlife was wild and out of control in Old City, the Rittenhouse Square area opened dance clubs and the crowd shifted above Broad to dance the night away at G Lounge, Whisper and Rumor. This year folks are still dancing, but not at as many clubs. G lounge has closed and become 1925 Lounge, a laid back speakeasy like club that serves delicious food from Davio’s; the setting is swanky, velvety seats, bottle service, nooks and a young to early 30s crowd. A scene not to be seen, but to chill with friends and enjoy the hourly “dance” shows.  Private without a secret password, except to get into the Vault where late last year Nikki Minaj and Meek Mills canoodled.

Whisper is now CODA, a live music entertainment spot. It’s an interesting concept, early evening rock and roll bands rule the stage, then towards the midnight hour it’s back to local and famous DJ’s playing  pumping music to keep the kids on the dance floor til the after hours club closes at 3AM. Rumor is still the place the millennials, bridge and tunnel crowd goes, filling the multiple dance floors til the lights go on at 2AM. Then there’s the more social/drinking establishments, the Irish Pubs, Rouge, D’Angelo’s, and the “speakeasies” Franklin Mortgage, Holts and even though it’s not in the Rittenhouse area but just an Uber ride away Hop Sing Laundromat.

 Last night I attended a new drinking establishment that encapsulated many of those aspects all under one very classy, fashionable roof. The Vesper Club, (223 S Sydenham St. – the alley that runs between Walnut and Locust just above 15th Street) founded in 1941 as one of the premier private supper clubs until it closed last year, has re-opened under new ownership, a similar but more polished concept capturing the essence of it’s heyday in the 40’s and 50’s as it was meant to be, a place to be seen, to see, enjoy and relax.

I had been to the Vesper Club a dozen times over the past decade or so, as I had friends who were members. I was always fascinated by this mural on the wall which was in one of the main dining rooms. I was excited to see that it was still there in what is now a lounge, seating area where live music plays from a small stage tucked in the corner. There will be dancing I’m told, and last night there was dancing.

 The staff is friendly and I like their uniforms, grey shirts, tie and a vest, but I the club doesn’t seem restricted to any serious dress code, but I would suggest cocktail, after work, night out on the town fashionable is the vibe humming through the place. Drinks were tasty and plentiful at last nights friends, family and industry night. Service was with a smile by Pat Bader, Stefany Stuber and Juan Sosa, who were at the main bar as you walked into the Vesper Club.

 Jordan Walls and Russ Bryant
There were passed Hors d’oeuvres consisting of pork belly smoked gooseberry, traditional Jumbo Gulf Shrimp, seared tuna, lamb loin, asparagus shooters, creme brulee, and other delicious treats.
The main dining room 
 The seafood bar can be seen as you first walk into the establishment

 Behind this “bookshelf”
 is a staircase that leads to the “speakeasy”
and you must know the password, which will be changed every day. There’s a phone at the top of the steps which rings to the phone on the bar downstairs. Say the password and you’re in like Flynn. 

 The owners of the new Vesper Club restored the building, and really did a great job at retaining many of the elements from the original concept including the downstairs bar.  

Aaron, Jon Leahy and Tony McReynolds, Bar Manager.
 There’s three areas in the speakeasy, the main room
 and two lounge areas on either end of the main bar
 Chris Donatello, Tom Vandenberg, John Barry and Karen Towsey.
 Kristin Detterline, Philly Style Magazine and Evan Solomon.


 Back upstairs, this is the main bar on the first floor and this floor has many of the same elements as the speakeasy, but it’s more of the supper club style, with a dance floor, although toe tapping is encouraged too. There are seats at the well stocked bar, TV’s to watch sports, and along the wall stools and wall table.

 The original floor from the Vesper Club looks brand spanking new

 Chef Ken Wallace prepares some of the Hors d’oeuvre. This is a new kitchen for the Vesper Club. The former kitchen is now part of  new section of Miscounduct , the popular bar located around the corner. The two establishments are owned by the same people.

 Derm Farrell, musical director of Vesper with the Mark Forchic Trio. Every night there will be live music or DJ music. There will be dancing, did I mention that?

Derm tells me “We have live music every night. Jazz/blues/piano instrumental during dinner service. Then there is a small transition just before dinner service ends where it changes over, depending what day of the wk it is, to a two piece, trio or full band performing crowed pleasers from past and present to get the people moving. We have a stage extension which lets us host up to 8 musicians on stage at the one time. I’ve got a massive mix of some of Philadelphia best bands on our books so you won’t be seeing the same this over and over. We are trying to cover as many sounds as possible. On Fridays and Saturdays I will have a DJ down stairs in the hideaway dressed in a smart suit spinning the best of lounge beats.”

There’s a nice lounge seating area too where Aida Sparta, Julie Lav, and Sharon Kaplan enjoyed the view under the velvety wall paper.
 Congrats on your engagement Wendy Wilhelm and Peter Caperonis
 Julia Tackett, Julie Faulkner and Caitlin Rotaiski
 Chris Cucchi and Michelle Conron
 There are a lot of bathrooms, single rooms with leather walls and your own sink.
 Tony and Amanda Pettinelli
 Caroline Farrell and Kristen Billiris

Did I mention that there would be dancing?
Drink, Dine & Dance starting on April 13

Kacie McDonnell , Marisa Magnatta, Laura Burkhardt, Brian Sims and Maria Papadakis: Cheer for Prohibition

In the “spirit” of the National Constitution Center’s world-premiere exhibition,
American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition, Philadelphia’s top
bartenders will compete to create the “Best ’20s-inspired cocktail” using Blue Coat Gin,
hand crafted by Philadelphia Distilling, as their primary ingredient.

Their creations were judged by popular Philadelphia personalities including
Laura Burkhardt, WHERE Magazine Publisher; Marisa Magnatta, Associate Producer of WMMR’s Preston and Steve Morning Show;
Brian Sims, Pennsylvania State Representative. Maria Papadakis, Emmy award-winning media personality
and host of “Out and About” on Philly.com; and   FOX 29 traffic reporter
Kacie McDonnell serves as emcee. 

 Maria Farricielli, Fox 29’s Business Development Account Manager. and Margaret Cronan, Chief Communications Officer at National Constitution Center
About American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition – Now
through April 28, 2013, the era of flappers and suffragists,
bootleggers and temperance lobbyists, and real-life legends like Al
Capone and Carry Nation vividly
come to life in the National Constitution Center’s world-premiere exhibition
American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition
(I saw it, it was fascinating.)
Mixologist Nate Churchill, XIX restaurant and bar, tells me he created his prohibition drink in about a minute.
He’s a big fan of Bluecoat and knew which ingredients would work well with the gin, lemon juice, fresh OJ, dashes bitters, and honey. He then poured it in a mason jar, as this was the prohibition era and that was what people might drink cocktails in back them.

 Then there was Stephen Diaz’s “The Red Fizz Charleston”, made with 2oz Bluecoat, 1oz Germain, his own reciepe of fresh raspberry syrup topped off with a dry Brut champagnes and a twist of lemon and fresh raspberries on a skewer.

 A recent addition to Palomar Hotel’s Square 1682, Chaucey Scates’ created the popular “Powder Room Punch” with gin, cointreau, jasmine tea, lemon grenadine, peychaunds bitters and angostura bitters.

 Finally house bartender, Bess Gulliver created “The Jazz Baby”, gin, Carpano Antica Formula Vermouth with Pierre Reeand and Dry Orange Curacao, Averna Amaro garnished with a flamed orange peel.

 South Philly Fashionista blogger Michelle Boyles, Julie Shannon, Editorial Events Coordinator for Metro US, Delsea football beat writer, foodie, fitness guru and Philly sports and Anna Aagenes, Greater Philadelphia Area – District Office Director, Office of Representative Brian Sims

Lisa Bass, Bourse Building (Who tells me she loves the Blue Coat as it’s not real ginny) and Lisa Breen

 It was good to catch up with Karen Gross, a former Where Magazine editor that works at the Constitution Center, but is also pursuing a cabaret singing career divides her time between Philly and Manhattan in pursuit of that goal, with Laura Burkhart, Where Magazine publisher.

 Rudy Fleisher, Here’s My Chance (PS I didn’t notice his flawless finger nails til late, I would have asked him if he were a typist?)

Michelle Boyles and Brett Copol both of Metro Philly Newspaper

Alison Young, Vice President of External Affairs at the National Constitution Center and Brian Sims, Pennsylvania State Representative.

Laurel Fairworth,  President at Cachet Communications and Kathy Zapp, Of Montgomery Media

 Kacie McDonnell, Fox 29 Traffic and Maria Papadakis, Philly.com plus has become a regular contributor to Fox 29 Good Day Philly. Prizes were awarded in two categories—Judge Favorite and Guest Favorite.  

The Guest Favorite will win an annual membership to the National Constitution
Center. And the winner is The Ritz Carlton Fizz!!

 Happy February Birthday to Matt Vlahos, Vlahos PR (2/28), Sarah Cooper Bobersky (2/8) and Big Rube Harley (2/23)

 Adam Judeh, GM XIX restaurant, winning bartender Nate Churchill thanking the organizers, Maria Papadakis, Marisa Magnatt and Brian Sims. Adam Judeh tells me that Orange Blossom will now be served at the XIX bar. (The Judge’s Favorite will receive
an annual membership to the National Constitution Center; a one night’s stay at the Hotel Monaco; a
With Love gift bag, courtesy of VisitPhilly.com and the Greater
Philadelphia Marketing and Tourism Corporation; and a feature on the
National Constitution Center’s website.)

Sunset from the Stratus Lounge. Can’t wait until summer, this place is going to be kickin it

 Then Laura and I headed to Red Owl Tavern for a bite to eat. OMG the Chicken Pot Pie keeps getting better and better. I highly recommend it, as I do the

The curry mussels.