Visions of Supper Clubs Dance in My Head

Golden Age of Supper Clubs

You know the kind of places I mean?  A nightspot like the ones that were popular from the 30s to the 60s where grownups went out for a night of fine dining and dancing.  Places where you could hear great jazz or big band music or the latest national singing sensation.   Places where you had to get dressed up or they wouldn’t let you in!

I was thinking about this just the other night. My husband and I went out to see a jazz band at a local club that served food and had a small dance floor. But that’s where the resemblance to an honest to goodness “old school” supper club ended.  The place was nice enough. Far from a dive.  But many people wandered in dressed in flip flops, tank tops and shorts.   I know, I know. Everyone has a right to dress however they like. I get it.   But part of my enjoyment of a place is the ambience.  And the attire of the patrons has a lot to do with that.  I’m so used to seeing ultra casual attire everywhere I go, that it would be nice change to go somewhere where people put more effort into their outfits. And seeing them in vintage outfits would be a total bonus!

I can dream can’t I? So, aside from world peace (who doesn’t want that?),  one of my fondest wishes is a world where traditional supper clubs are the norm.   So far I’ve only visited one once in my life. I actually got to see  Big Bad Voodoo Daddy perform in a beautiful supper club outside of Portland Maine.  Not only did I get to  have a lovely dinner while wearing a fabulous 50 dress, but I also got to dance to one of my favorite swing bands!  It was one of the highlights of my entire life. Unfortunately the venue has since turned into a function facility. So I’ve been searching for something similar ever since.

Here’s what it looks like.
Don’t you think they should bring the supper club thing back? This place is perfect for it.

Maybe I’ll write them a letter begging and pleading.

Landing at Pine Point

You often see a very lavish rendition of a supper club in the classic movies starring Fred Astaire,  with  opulent sets and glamorous actors and actors having a grand ol’ time.

And many of those movie stars actually frequented the real supper clubs of the day, like the Stork Club, Ciro’s,  Cocoanut Grove,  Copacabana and  El Morrocco.

Cocoanut Grove

Cocoanut Grove

But, there were also plenty of lesser known supper clubs all across the country where ordinary folks got to dress to the nines, have a nice meal and then dance it off to some sultry torch singer backed by a big band orchestra. And, of course, it was the era of serious cocktails.  A night out at the supper club meant knocking back a few Manhattans, Sidecars, Martinis, Old Fashioneds, Rusty Nails or G&T’s.

But those traditional supper clubs started to die out in the 1960s.  Nowadays there are places that call themselves a “supper club”, but they are not the same. They are either a restaurant, with no live music and dancing, or have a DJ! Seriously?  These clubs are geared toward 20s somethings who are definitely not interested in the iconic supper club experience.

And that is the type of  supper club I fantasize about visiting.

See this photo? This is my Mom and Dad at the Frolics Supper Club on Salisbury Beach, Ma.   It was taken in the 1950s and I discovered it going through my Mom’s things after she passed away. It is, without a doubt, my favorite picture of my parents.   Yep, Bob and Maryanne had just started dating back then. Dad took her out to the Frolics for a big night on the town.  I asked my Dad who they went to see that night, because all kinds of famous people performed there, including Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Patti Page and The McGuire Sisters and many more. Except he couldn’t remember! And now he’s gone, too.  So it will remain a mystery.  But, I cherish this  great visual memory of my folks at the type of place I so long to visit.

 

Mom and Dad at the Frolics Supper Club Salisbury Beach

And when they took your picture there, they put it inside one of these. Aren’t the graphics cool!

Frolics Supper Club-Salsibury Beach

Here’s a postcard of the Frolics at night.

Frolics Supper Club Postcard

And when I was a child I remember my Mom getting all glammed up to go to Blinstrub’s, a famous Supper Club in Boston.

Blinstrubs Supper Club Boston

Here are some other images that illustrate the golden era of the swanky supper club.

The Rainbow Room, NYC-1930s

Rainbow Room

Paradise Room-Atlanta-1950s

Paradise Room Atlanta

Look at this guy! A white jacket and a bow tie. When was the last time you saw that when you went out?

Dancers at the Patio Restaurant and Nightclub, Palm Beach.-1950s

Dancers at the Patio Restaurant and Nightclub Palm Beach

So  my mission is to locate and visit as many classic supper clubs as I can find before I’m too old and decrepit to dance!

A friend of mine suggested the Cicada Club in LA.  So it is on my bucket list!

Does anyone know of any others around the country?  Would you go to a place like this if there was one in your area?

Have a glamorous day!

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By | 2016-12-07T10:21:48-04:00 December 7th, 2016|Uncategorized|8 Comments

About the Author:

Theresa
Hi, I'm Theresa, owner and chief classy dame at the Blue Velvet Vintage online boutique. Lover of mid century fashion and home decor, classic films, Old Hollywood, pretty dresses, red lipstick, swing dancing and retro culture in general. Between my ecommere site and vintage style blog my mission is to revive the eras of classy dressing and inspire women to add more glamour to their lives! So don't be shy! I love to hear from others who share my appreciation of the styles of the past.

8 Comments

  1. Theresa Campbell
    Theresa Campbell December 10, 2016 at 9:44 am

    Thank you Nicole! And, I totally agree. Seems like T shirts and jeans has become the default outfit for many. Worn for every type of occasion. I wear jeans once in a while and still find skirts or dresses to be much more comfortable!

  2. Avatar
    Nicole December 10, 2016 at 1:49 am

    Your parents were so glamorous!
    I agree- it’s so sad when people go out for the evening, but refuse to dress up. When I go out, I want everyone dressed up- no jeans please!
    The Artyologist

  3. Theresa Campbell
    Theresa Campbell December 9, 2016 at 9:02 am

    Liz, that is so sweet of you to say. And I guess supper clubs were a thing all over the world back then. I’m sure if they opened one in Toronto you would be one of the first at the door!

  4. Avatar
    Liz December 8, 2016 at 12:22 pm

    Your parents picture is so wonderful! I know where you get your beauty from 🙂

    Supper clubs are truly the best and I to wish more existed. Toronto has none that I’m aware of 🙁 But there were lots in the heyday as well here. I also love the folder they put the pictures in as well. I own a couple that i have found in vintage shops. Great pieces of history.

    FANTASTIC post!!

  5. Theresa Campbell
    Theresa Campbell December 7, 2016 at 1:13 pm

    Thanks Vix. I so miss my Mom and Dad. Everytime I look at this picture it brings tears to my eyes. And I’m glad you like my title. I usually struggle with that. But this one kind of just popped into my head due to the season I guess.
    How did your show go, btw? Hope you sold tons of stuff 🙂

  6. Theresa Campbell
    Theresa Campbell December 7, 2016 at 1:09 pm

    Thank you Suzanne. Can’t believe they were only teenagers when that photo was taken. They look so much older and sophisticated. I checked that Cicada Club website and it looks like a fantastic place. They’re having a New Years party as well. Wish I could go! Will be sure to let you know if I discover anymore places.

  7. Avatar
    Vix December 7, 2016 at 12:38 pm

    Your Mum and Dad look like filmstars! Wow, just wow!
    If there was an award for a brilliant blog title you’d win it – genius! xxx

  8. Avatar
    Suzanne December 7, 2016 at 12:28 pm

    What a lovely photo of your parents! A handsome couple.

    I don’t know that I’ve been to any authentic supper clubs but I have been to a few that have been created for special events. A couple of murder mystery productions and a few New Year’s Eve galas that were wonderful.

    Be sure to keep us updated as to any new spots you discover! I need to check out that one in LA the next time I’m out that way.

    bisous
    Suzanne

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