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.
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