As Mr. Charron says, this current generation is seemingly getting tired of the fast food culture, and this is apparent in many aspects of today’s society. Think about it. More people are being interested in switching to homegrown, organic food. Fast food joints now have Salads as a big part of their menu. We’re becoming aware that quality beats quantity, and that taking your time to enjoy your meal, your drink, your music, is important (an understatement in itself).
And this brings me to The Wiggle Room (3874 St-Laurent), a brand new Montreal nightclub that looks so vintage you’ll want to spell it Niteclub and call it a swell joint. The 70 capacity room offers nightly entertainment, ranging from Burlesque shows to live music to comedy. The official website is still in the works, so for more information I suggest you click here.
I walked in on a wednesday night, and was immediately transported: the look of the place is a spectacle in itself. Leather seats, dim lights, dark brick walls partially covered by purple curtains. No expense was spared and this is clearly go-for-broke stuff. In the middle, round wooden rustic tables and chairs just begging to be removed so folks can take advantage of the dance floor. There is a mini-theatre-like hollow stage, and, you guessed it, a red curtain.
I sat down and Mr. Charron presented the drinks menu to me, explaining: “Here, you’ll pay a bit more for a drink. But we make sure we get all the best ingredients, and we make you the real deal. No cheap rum and coke stuff. Here, you’ll get the level of alcohol the drink demands and we don’t cheapen it”. Drinks presented include Daiquiris, Manhattans, Old Fashioned, Gin Fizz… And I was curious to see if paying 12$ for a Daiquiry was indeed worth the money Mr. Charron said it was. First impression was it was properly served in a chilled cocktail glass and instead of garnishing it with the lime on the side, a lime spiral was inserted in the drink. Nice. The drink itself was mixed to perfection, with just the right amount of simple syrup to balance the sourness of the lime. The rum, a white Havana club, was as clear a taste as its non-alcoholic ingredients: not something you find in most Montreal bars. This was indeed the proper proportion, and in the most simplistic terms it was a strong drink, as it should be. The 12$ is justified: you usually pay 6-7$ for a cheap rum and coke in Montreal bars. If you need to drown out your sorrows at The Wiggle Room, at the end of the night you’ll probably pay a little bit more than you usually would, but at least you’ll have had a good quality drink. And I have to applaud our lovely waitress, I believe named Tamara, who provided as high quality of a service as the bar itself.
Next, the show began. Sultry piano/jazz duo Beth McKenna (Tenor Sax) and Ian Bartczak (dressed in proper ‘40s attire) performed songs old and new, from All That Jazz, to a scorching version of La Vie En Rose, to Just A Gigolo, and even Christina Aguilera’s hit, Beautiful (and it was so good that you don’t dare simply call it ironic). The acoustics of the room provide a gentle echo that elevates the quality of the music. Quick comedic snippets in between songs finalized the thought that you were watching an authentic cabaret show. I have a feeling that The Wiggle Room will be known to be as important for its atmosphere as for its high quality shows.
While the band took a short break after the first set ended, I couldn’t resist ordering my favorite drink, a Manhattan. I know I should have stuck to rum-based drinks, but I couldn’t resist. To put you into context, I once had to explain to a local barman how to make a Manhattan after ordering it. But this one was as good as the best Manhattans I’ve ever had. Just the right amount of Angostura bitters (some bars don’t have bitters at all), and again, this was a “real” drink: strong, tasty and fresh. Now, I wouldn’t really mention going to the bathroom, but seeing that the attention to detail went through even its look, you’ll be quick to notice the vintage looking toilets and sinks, almost giving the place a late 1920’s feel. Then you get back to the main room and it hits you: this place is just beautiful.
But it’s not for everyone: it’s a place that encourages you to take your time and even dress the part. As Charron stated, “Someone with a T-shirt and baseball cap can walk in, and that’s fine, but might feel out of place.” What I got out of The Wiggle Room was (and yes, I wore a suit) just how quickly this place made me decompress. When you have all the right elements: look, comfort, quality, entertainment, you realize what a lack of it presented itself to you in your nightlife. You can just take it easy and relax. Or don’t. Dance if you want to. The choice is yours and no judgment shall be made against you. It has a very anything goes feel, despite its intimidating at-first-glance impression. Where nostalgia often dwells in kitsch, The Wiggle Room vies for authenticity and class as opposed to tackiness.
And that’s all I’m gonna say about it, because the rest is up to you to discover.
The Wiggle Room is located at 3874 Blvd. St-Laurent and is open 7pm to 3am Tues-Sun. Phone: (514) 508-9465 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
From the press release:
”Welcome to Montreal’s brand-spanking-new burlesque and variety destination. Located in the heart of Montreal’s notorious St. Laurent Boulevard, The Wiggle Room is the bootleg baby of this city’s bawdy family tree. Born out of a desire to bring a traditional vaudeville spirit back to the street that was once known as Montreal’s ‘hardened artery’, The Wiggle Room is committed to providing high quality live shows six nights a week.
On the seventh we rest… if there is any rest for the wicked!”