The scene at Red Room Dec. 5 was like one in an old movie: Dancers took to the stage as bartenders rescued trays stacked with empty beer glasses. Everyone was decked out in fancy digs—tuxedoes, tiny dresses, wing tips.
It was the anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition, the 18th Amendment to the Constitution that made the production, sale and transportation of liquor illegal in the United States.
The crowd, much of which was in its best Gatsby-wear in honor of the drinker's holiday, shuffled, spun and Charlestoned to the sultry tunes of Frim Fram 4. The band was pure swing—upright bass-driven beats hoisted up the piano and electric guitar licks. The effect was a sound as crackly as an old 78 RPM record and an atmosphere as smooth as whiskey.
As the evening progressed, the smell of cigarettes wafted in from outside. Ties loosened, sequined headbands slipped and hoodies appeared on shoulders. The party wasn't over: The Red Room was becoming itself again. When Frim Fram 4 wailed a tricked-out cover of Black Sabbath's "War Pigs," patrons near the bar wailed right back.