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Prohibition: They Bring Chicago Back

The pleasure of having your own blog is the opportunity to write smug things without the actual feeling of that smug-ness about myself. Oh well, let me be misunderstood. I would give a lot to feel smug all the time, damn, why do I usually fall out if this state and start remembering all those grandma’s lines about humility, humbleness and modesty? I wish.

Nevertheless, I feel I have been living in this town for long enough. I have had enough meals out to come to the realisation that anybody could have a favourite restaurant without the fear of being mistaken for a shallow - and gluttonous - person. So there - I have grown up enough to have a favourite restaurant.

I already have a favourite sushi shop (comes from my student days), a favourite barista (came from me becoming redundant)  - a fairly freckled young man, a single father, evenly covered with tattoos; and a favourite arcade of cafes (this credited to some friends - we have to catch upsomewhere). Now I feel grown up enough to say that there is a restaurant, too.

Now, me being me, I fell not so much for the food - I guess good food is essentially the same everywhere - I fell for the show. The theme is 1920s - oh, do I love themed places. No wonder my heart is in Vegas, still. The old Ford is parked outside, and there is an open bag full of American dollars. The bouncers, dressed in those hats with white ribbons, let you in.

Well, the weekend paper said the owners invested about $2m into it. Must be for immigration purposes, but nevertheless. I still think that figure must include the ownership of the building - I mean brick walls are not exactly that pricey - yet I was impressed. Green velvet table covers, low-hanging chandelliers above each table, heavy crockery and fancy cutlery - neat. I presume the furniture was custom-made, and so was the soundtrack (real gangster dialogues with a New Zealand accent, very sweet indeed). The logo is a sign of clubs on everything, from table napkins to toilet basins - tacky, yes, but unheard of, in the realms of Auckland.

The table next to us did not have their violin under the table, yet I wouldn’t be surprised if it was there. The lady wore gloves and hats, the gentlemen - black and white tap dance shoes. I felt so unprepared and underdressed, I feel almost obliged to go back there again now.

They could improve by giving things away - in Vegas they give you ashtrays with the restaurant logo, or freshly baked bread, or tiny goody bags. Here they could start with a pack of cards - that would be so appropriate.

The theory of hospitality goes that 1 out of 3 new places go bust in the first two years. Oh well, if this one survives (although money is probably no object there!), it might be very successful. I wish it would be.

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February 2009


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