After leaving the Lake Metropark in Ohio, it was already late afternoon, so we grabbed some lunch and headed home to wash up for our Saturday night on the town, er, on the City. We had 6:30 reservations for pre-dinner cocktails at the Velvet Tango Room, a swanky, Cleveland jazz club. When I researched the bar online, I discovered that the “backroom” was hush-hush. Not much detail was provided other than the fact that a reservation was required. The mystery of it all captured my attention. When the GPS signaled that we had arrived at our destination, Brian and I glanced confusedly at the building and its location. The words “Velvet Tango Room” glowed in a dim red shade. The sign was hanging below the gutters of what appeared to be an unkept home located in a questionable, rural neighborhood. When we set the car in park, we watched as a family of three, dressed to the nines with suits, pearls and heels, walked into the venue. We thought this must be one of those hole-in-the-wall treasures. When we walked in, we were greeted by a well-dressed hostess who led us to the backroom after asking for the secret password. We passed a polished, grand piano in the mid common area and several customers enjoying cocktails at the front bar. We approached the glass door leading into the backroom and were informed that this was actually a two-way mirror; the clients in the backroom could see out, but others in the common area could not see in. We received the extensive drink menu which was bound in a combination of leather and suede. I ordered a Peach Shrub, a tangy champagne mix made with Chardonnay vinegar. Brian ordered a Ginger cocktail, an interesting blend of alcohol and spices. The drinks were good – and so were the prices – listed at a whopping $18.00 per cocktail. Notably, the ambiance of the room was impressive. The backroom was adorned with a fully stocked private bar, light-brown leather couches, a decorative fireplace, another grand piano and a ceiling plated with gold and silver hues. It felt as if we were transported to the early 1920s, enjoying drinks in the living room of a wealthy socialite. The experience, although pricey, was well worth it when we discovered that the club served as a speakeasy during the Prohibition Era, an illicit nightclub for brave alcohol lovers. The website’s description of the club proved even more telling as we reflected on this experience:

“The bullet holes in the ceiling are real. And for the most part, the ghosts are gone.”