Club vs. bar? The age old question that people ask to determine the type of person they are conversing with. If you say “club” you may be perceived as young (pretending to be young) even sceney or high maintenance answer “bar” and you’re chill, laid back, down to earth, “real”. What it all comes down to is that these two very broad categories no longer encompass the wide variety of establishments in the past few years there have been an abundance of speak easys, mixology meccas, high-end sports bars with sparklers, jazz clubs and themed lounges popping up all over the world that now force us to break that question down even further. Are you into hipster-trendy bourbon bars with a touch of tight pants or do you prefer bottle service for $1,500+?? The beauty of it all is that there really is something for everyone.
In my recent travels and at-home shenanigans I’ve stumbled upon two hidden gems that felt more like a travel through time rather then a typical vodka night on the town. One not so new, Gregory’s Jazz Club in Rome, known to the locals and kept secret from miserable tourists. I was lucky enough to find a local willing to show me an unforgettable taste of Roman night life. The other, Gale Hotel’s Rec Room. A retro throwback reminiscent of my grandparent’s basement (in the best possible way), hidden only because the masterful Menin Hotel moguls wanted it that way. Well done!
Gregory’s Jazz Club
On a rainy night in Rome…sounds like the beginning of a movie screen play right? Well anyway it was Rome and it was rainy and it was every bit as magical as the movies. My tour guide (who shall remain nameless) introduced me to Gregory’s Jazz Club. From the outside it looks like any city bar, but walk up the narrow steps and tucked up in a small loft lives an acoustic musical playground. Gorgeous waitresses climbing through the small, but full crowd deliver dark red wine and crepes while the Emanuele Urso Swing Band (click link for YouTube clip) entertains a crowd full of clap happy, foot stomping fans. Emanuele along with his brother on the piano and father on the bass are just one of many musical acts that have come through Gregory’s, but for me the best! From the music, to the food, to the wine…it was an experience I will never forget and one of the many reasons why I fell in love with Rome.
Images courtesy of Gregory’s Jazz Club
The homage to a 70s style basement (swingers not included), may be my new favorite spot in South Beach. With an impressive vinyl collection and even more impressive DJ mixology, tunes from The Supremes and Jackson 5 are mixed with beats that only Miami knows best. They even included a life sized replica of the famous leg lamp (seen below) featured in the Christmas classic, A Christmas Story. The feel is comfortable, the drinks are timely (thanks to some very efficient bar tending) and look is nostalgic. If you need a cure for your Saturday Night Fever, I suggest you boogie on down to Rec Room before the rest of the world finds out what Gale is hiding.
Images courtesy of the Gale Hotel
Image courtesy of SmittyLax