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Archive for the ‘Classic Cocktails’ Category

Looking for a cool place for a classic cocktail, live music and all around hip scene with a vintage vibe? Then look no further than The Blue Comet in Glenside, PA.

The Blue Comet Exterior Sign

I’ve already told you how excited we were to find that The Blue Comet had reopened after being closed for 2 years, and I was psyched that RetroRoadhusband and I were able to visit there recently before-and after- a show at the Keswick Theatre for a swell date night! And since I’m hunkered down at home with the RetroRoaddog tonight, what better time reminisce about some weekend fun?

Blue Comet Door

It’s a cozy space with the bar up front where you can look at the vintage barware and entertaining kitsch while you wait for your perfect Manhattan to be created by one of their nattily dressed bartenders.

Bar Scene
Ah! There it is! Come to Betty!
Manhattan
You can order food at the bar if you like-or wait here for a booth in the back. I like the bar scene here, as you can watch people come and go, and best of all – talk to the person next to you, as instructed by one of their TVs.
Talk To The Person Next To You

Since we were heading out to a show we did order some nibbles and decided to sit at one of the upholstered booths in the back to eat. I dig the mood lighting in the Blue Comet as it does wonders in making everyone look young and beautiful, alas not so good for the photographing of food. Which was tasty for sure!

Glass Block Wall and Ortliebs BeerFolks all around were enjoying their dinner and drinks, and if it were a Saturday or Sunday they’d also be able to enjoy live music, with a Rockabilly bent. The memorabilia above our table showcases some of the bands that had played there in the past. The best place to keep up with their schedule is on The Blue Comet Facebook page.
Rockabilly Rumble PosterSince we were off to see some live music ourselves, we reluctantly had to leave the vintage environment of the Comet sooner than we’d like, but are already making plans to go there with some pals very soon.

Glenside is a neat little enclave of independent businesses – don’t leave without enjoying the science-fiction like displays of their neighbors Humphrey’s Pest Control (in business since the 1950’s – nice!):

Damage To Suitcase By Termites

And, horror of horrors:

Slide Carousel and Slides Destroyed By Termites

The Blue Comet Bar & Grill
106 S Easton Rd
Glenside, PA 19038
(215) 572-9780

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RetroRoadhusband, the dear, just surprised me with a fabulous Valentines gift – 2 tickets for us to go see Herb Alpert (of The Tijuana Brass) and Lani Hall (his wife and ex-lead singer of Sergio Mendes and Brasil 66.) These are two of my fave easy listening / jazz  1960’s music groups and I can’t wait to see the show at the historic Keswick Theatre in Glenside PA next Friday!

I used to listen to Whipped Cream and Other Delights while dancing around the basement when I was growing up, and I’ve continued to be a fan of Alpert’s interpretations of standards and his originals. Sergio Mendes and Brazil 66’s album Look Around is one I picked up while thrifting when we were engaged to be married and it always brings good memories!

We’ll start off the evening with a few cocktails at our fave vintage inspired bar / lounge / restaurant The Blue Comet just down the road from the theatre. We love the vibe and food there, and are so glad this rockabilly haven has reopened.

ahh, cocktails

Now I just have to figure out what to WEAR! :-)

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If you go to The Bookstore in Bethlehem PA…tell’em Mod Betty sent ya. Or just to be on the safe side, make a reservation.

Please Wait For The Bookstore Clerk

But you’re not reserving a book, you’re saving your place to head back in time, to a jazz-era speakeasy. And it’s the cat’s meow, honeybunch!

Classic Cocktail

I heard about The Bookstore from Drew Nugent (of Drew Nugent and the Midnight Society) as we were chatting at John Scioli’s rockin’ retro barbershop. It sounded too cool to be true, a space hidden away in an old building that served artisanal cocktails and nibbles, with a live jazz combo.

So when we heard that Drew and his crew were playing there last weekend we met up with our hip Lehigh Valley pals to check it out.

Our friends had been there before, so they knew where the discreet entrance was, on the side of an old stone building. I wasn’t kidding about the reservation part (call or email is your best bet), as the place is small, but charmingly so, and they just might not have room for your party.

Luckily the vintage stars aligned for us and the darling hostess offered to cobble together 4 seats at the bar for us walkins. We were led behind the curtain to a low ceilinged space lit by oil lamps and candles, which was a cozy scene on a freezing cold night.
Pickled Eggs On The Bar The cocktails and hand picked draught beer selections are presented to you inside books and the barkeeps were happy to answer any questions we had about the menu. We had perfect seats to watch them craft our tasty cocktails behind the bar, while also keeping an eye and an ear on Drew and his band, playing music from the jazz era. Those cats were swingin’ and totally added to the back in time ambiance.

Drew Nugent & The Midnight Society

Now I know the speakeasy trend has been in the big cities for years, but with the cool jazz and handcrafted cocktails The Bookstore was the bee’s knees. A perfect way to step back in time when you’re stepping out on the town.

The Bookstore Speakeasy
336 Adams Street
Bethlehem, PA 18015
(610) 867-1100

The Bookstore on Urbanspoon

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I’m happy to report that one of my fave bars, the Blue Comet in Glenside PA is open once again! This great neighborhood bar, famous for their live rockabilly music on Sunday nights, was closed for almost 2 years and Retro Roadhusband and I were delighted to see that they were open (since June) as we drove past this afternoon.

blue-comet-bar-grill-glenside-pa-reopen-retro-roadmap

We took a quick peek in and I’m pleased to report that the place looks the same, if not better than ever, down to the “Talk To The Person Next To You” sign I LOVE, pasted across the screen of the TV. If you didn’t know that this bar had been opened within the past 20 years you’d swear it was a holdover from another era, with its vintage style interior, classic standards and rockabilly playing in the background and blue neon Cocktails sign.

With a fresh coat of paint, outdoor patio ’round back, good food and live music, we raise a toast to the Blue Comet – Welcome back!

Become a fan of The Blue Comet on Facebook if you like!

The Blue Comet Bar & Grill
106 S Easton Rd
Glenside, PA 19038
(215) 572-9780

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The recently renovated Tonga Room, an historic tiki fixture in the basement of San Francisco’s Fairmont Hotel since the 1920’s is slated for demolition now that the building has gone condo- not cool! If you’re in the SF area and want to lend your voice to saving this slice of history, there’s a meeting at Smuggler’s Cove on March 23. Here are the details as I found’em on that fabulous tiki resource, Tiki Central!

tonga-room-save-retro-roadmap

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – To all concerned San Franciscans, Tiki freaks, Dionysians and Sybarites, mid century fans, and rum aficionados; come one and come all to a gathering at Smuggler’s Cove (650 Gough St. San Francisco, CA 94102) on Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010 starting at 5:00PM to sign a petition opposing the demolition of the Tonga Room to make way for a parking garage and yet more luxury condominiums. ( Mod Betty says, “the thought makes my heart sink!”

After you sign the petition, stay a while and enjoy a fantastic rum cocktail or two while you mix and mingle with like-minded people and listen to Exotica under the soft glow of Tiki torches and beachcomber lamps. Around 6:00 PM, Chris VerPlanck and Erica Schultz of S.O.S. Tonga will provide a brief update on efforts to save the Tonga Room and exhort you to contact your local supervisors and the president of the Historic Preservation Commission, urging them to designate the Tonga Room as a local San Francisco Landmark. Mahalo!

Located at The Fairmont San Francisco, The Tonga Room has delighted guests with its tropical décor, decadent libations and Asian cuisine since 1945.

If you want to help but can’t make the meeting, also consider becoming a fan of Save The Tonga Room on Facebook.

I’m putting The Tonga Room on the Retro Roadmap as we speak and hope, with the input of concerned citizens it gets to stay there for a very long time!

The Tonga Room at the Fairmont Hotel
950 Mason Street
San Francisco, CA 94108-6000
(415) 772-5278

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The Mai Kai has been on my “To Do” Retro Roadmap list for ages, and I’m proud to say “We DID”! This east coast tiki temple has been wowing visitors to Fort Lauderdale Florida since 1956, and it certainly wowed us. Definitely on our top list of Retro Roadmap Recommendations!

Mai Kai SignI am quoting that great tiki resource Critiki when I let you know that “The Mai Kai is perhaps the last of the grand Polynesian palaces still operating from when tiki was at its peak in the late 50s and early 60s. That the Mai Kai not only still exists today, but is vibrant and thriving, is something we should all be very grateful for–but not take for granted.” – I could not say it any better!

Mai Kai Entrance

The Mai Kai is a sprawling Polynesian paradise on a busy commercial strip in Fort Lauderdale, and takes on a look of mystery once the sun sets. Included in this time warp of wonderfulness are 8 dining rooms,  a fabulous sunken ship inspired bar, waterfalls, bridges, tropical foliage, and more tikis and idols than I could count.

This tribute to tiki is currently owned by Mirielle (the wife of one of the original owners) who also runs the Polynesian review dinner show- and was once a dancer in it, herself! She also makes sure all new dances added to the dinner show are performed properly according to the people who live on the island on which the dance originates.

We pulled the rented Retro Roadmapmobile over the bridge, left it in the trusty hands of the valet,  made our way into the darkened interior of the Molokai bar, and into another world.

Mai Kai Bar

Our waitresses were a bit goosebumply in their sarongs on this unseasonably chilly day- too bad they couldn’t have a Rum Barrel to warm themselves up, as I did!

IMG_1415

The bar is a wonderful recreation of a sunken ship and turn of the century seaport saloon, replete with tiki music and underwater effects:

No matter what window you look out of, you would never be able to tell that the busy street is just outside, as each porthole and ship window reveals a lovely tropical scene:
Mai Kai Waterfall IdolsWanting to get a good seat for the floor show, we left the bar promptly at our reservation time and proceeded into the inner sanctum of the restaurant.

Mai Kai Gardens click here to see the inside of the Mai Kai!

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I knew I had to get this post up soon, not only because next Thursday February 25th The Bahi Hut in Sarasota FL is celebrating its 55th Anniversary, but also so I could get this jingle out of my head (courtesy of a link on The Bahi Hut’s Facebook Page)

(Click the lyrics to hear what I’m talking about)

The Bahi Hut,
the Bahi Hut
the Bahi Hut
is the spot.

The intimate
spot to meet
all your friends-
the Bahi Hut!

The friendly cocktail lounge at the Golden Host
With the island charm, you love the most.

On Sarasota’s famous North Trail you got,
the intimate – spot to meet
the Bahi Hut!

The Spot To Be

Now that you’ve got that slightly off-kilter ditty running through your head like I do, let’s see what awaits behind the door with a giant spoon handle, shall we?
Grab The Spoon (more…)

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