Some nights, a book or a movie won’t do, a seat at a bar with ten 40 inch flat screens projecting every sporting event is a bore, and a rock show is too much energy. Some nights, a German style cabaret nestled between rich mahogany lacquered walls, low flickering sconces, rich expansive paintings, like JW Waterhouse’s Destiny, emblazoned copper color tin ceilings, back lit stained glass windows, church pew seating and deep red crushed velvet curtains, complete with gold fringe, are just what the doctor ordered. Some nights, a place like Nick’s is needed to take in 1940s standards instead of America’s top 40; a night where rich buttery rhythms sway on the intimate velvet adorned stage, as lyrics of Arlen, Porter and Coward, Rodgers and Hart, Berlin and Gerswhin dance off the tongues of jazz vixens and crooners.
I need places like Nick’s in my life.
Last evening, I had the pleasure of hanging out with my friend Emily. I had originally planned to go to rehearsal for an upcoming play I am in and return home to either read or watch a movie. When rehearsal was cancelled, last minute plans were made to meet up at Nick’s on Millbury Street.
Nick’s, unlike any bar in Worcester, has the ability to time warp its costumers to a film noir European style cabaret. As you walk in, two framed flat screen TVs show classic movies. Last night’s features were My Fair Lady and Camelot. On tap are a generous selection of German beers with a menu to match its Deutsche theme. Through the kitchen is their patio alight with globe string lights; to the west the Worcester skyline twinkles, especially 100 Front Street’s Telegram and Gazette sign. Though the crisp November air would not persuade most to converse outside, the patio still housed many under a warm glow of street lights and string lights. As you turn left past the bar, through those gorgeous velvet curtains, the lounge provides quaint, cozy entertainment. Last night’s performers played through the “Great American Songbook” while patrons looked on, caught up with loved ones, or met new friends.
Bow ties and bowler hats are common. Flowers in ladies’ hair complimenting sweetheart necklines, a-lined princess seamed pleated dresses are not out of place here. Yet this attire is not akin to a tacky costume party or a provocative Betty Page reproduction gone wrong. The style blends, adding to the atmosphere, inviting those who, like me show up in a black pants, a sweater and scarf, to immerse into the mood, to enjoy, to unwind. It’s a sight to be seen; tattooed hopeless romantics mingle with writers, professors, musicians, and anyone who is laid back enough to take in some jazz standards. I always meet someone with a story to tell any time I enter, and look forward to those who’s lives have brought them to this establishment.
What was supposed to be a stop for a quick beer turned into an evening of amazing conversation, followed by dancing in the rain back to our cars, humming “Fly Me to the Moon”. I’ve always been in love with the 20s-40s; the fashion, the music, the demure sexuality, much more glamorous than the, for lack of a better word, trashy, slovenly, leave-nothing-to-the-imagination, oversexed images celebrated in Maxim, Playboy, et al. Though I’m much happier and content to be a woman in the 21st century with far more choices than those women in the 20s-40s, the idea of that romantic elegance makes me smile. The longing for a mood that just doesn’t exist today.
I get that every time I visit Nicks.