A couple partakes in some swing dancing during the weekly Speakeasy event at the Victoria Event Centre. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

VIDEO: Victoria’s weekly speakeasy offers prohibition-era fun

Victoria Event Centre’s speakeasy nights ‘the bee’s knees’ for 1920s’ lovers

It’s 8:30 p.m. on a Tuesday night at the Victoria Events Centre (VEC) when a man with slicked back hair, slacks and suspenders climbs the steps to the front desk.

“Frog’s eyebrows,” he says with a smirk to ticket taker Emily Lavender, seated next to an Underwood typewriter and vintage pull-cord lamp.

Lavender, wearing a striped shirt, cat-eye glasses and a bowler hat, hands him a ticket and he heads toward the sound of a smooth saxophone and spunky percussion.

The guest has come for the weekly speakeasy night at the local venue, where a 1920s drink menu and a jazz band playing under the soft, muted lighting of an “underground” bar, launches visitors into another era.

With smoked bourbon warming their lips and the sleek, old-timey tunes of local jazz band Flying Saucers thumping through the room, couples drag one another onto the dance floor and slide back in time with the dips and dives of the 1920s’-era Lindy Hop dance style.

READ ALSO: High-end whisky seized in B.C. bar raids

“If you wanted to know what it was like in the 1920s, this is pretty close,” said Lavender, who is also a co-organizer of the speakeasy. “You don’t have to know how to dance, you don’t have to like jazz music, you can just come here and really enjoy yourself.

It’s good old fashioned entertainment.”

In order to get the free drink ticket that comes with the $10 entry fee, guests need to know that week’s 1920s’ slang password such as frog’s eyebrows (nice or fine), cat’s meow (splendid or stylish) or hotsy totsy (pleasing).

And if you don’t know the password but want in on the free giggle water (1920s’ slang for alcohol) you have to enter your email address on the Underwood and wait for the ‘word of mouth’ to hit your inbox.

Once inside, guests can grab a Juniper Rickey or Django Manhattan at the bar and “make whoopee” on the dance floor.

Jazz band Flying Saucers provided some smooth, upbeat jazz for Lindy Hop dancers at the Victoria Event Centre’s Speakeasy night on Tuesday. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

Don’t know how to dance? The VEC takes care of that too, with quick swing dance lessons each night before the event, and once a month at the feature night – where visitors also enjoy a number of music and dance performances.

Plus there’s always a Brown Derby if you need the liquid courage to cut up the dance floor with the others.

“I think with the live music and the creativity of the bartenders and the drinks they come up with, and the dancing, it’s all very magical,” Lavender said.

For more information on the weekly speakeasy, visit victoriaeventcentre.ca.

READ ALSO: Victoria venue hires consent captain

READ ALSO: Victoria event centre to open café, begin workspace pilot project



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

A couple hits the floor with some Lindy Hop dance moves at the weekly Speakeasy event put on by the Victoria Event Centre. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

Emily Lavender welcomes guests at the Victoria Event Centre’s “speakeasy’ on Tuesday night. Only those with the week’s password get a free drink ticket. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

Just Posted

BC SPCA overwhelmed with cats, kittens needing homes

Large number of cruelty investigations, plus normal ‘kitten season’ to blame

Transit extends weekend night routes, ups service levels across Greater Victoria

Says bus lanes have helped improve BC Transit service frequencies

Ringette returns to Greater Victoria

Locals are forming a new ringette association after going more than decade without

FIRST REVIEWS: Victoria Fringe Festival starts with a bang

We review the first wave of shows from the festival, as part of our ongoing series

Ethnic media aim to help maintain boost in voting by new Canadians

Statistics Canada says new Canadians made up about one-fifth of the voting population in 2016

POLL: Should there be a ban on gas-powered leaf blowers?

We’ve all heard them, and most likely cursed them under our breath.… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of Aug. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Wife charged in husband’s death in Sechelt

Karin Fischer has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of her husband, Max

B.C. Hydro applies for rare cut in electricity rates next year

Province wrote off $1.1 billion debt to help reverse rate increase

Retired Vancouver Island teacher ‘Set for Life’ after $675K lottery win

Patrick Shannon plans to buy new sails for his sailboat

New police force in Surrey must avoid VPD, RCMP errors made in Pickton case: Oppal

Boots are scheduled to be on the ground by spring 2021

Man at centre of dropped HIV-disclosure case sues province and 10 cops

Brian Carlisle of Abbotsford says Mission RCMP defamed him and were ‘negligent’ in their investigation

Most Read