Recall, if you will, the former nightclub known as Liquor Store. Yes, the one with the mechanical bull and a lifetime’s worth of bad decision making.
Good. Now, forget that entirely.
Because the nightclub-meets-performance-theater that’s moved in with five stages and four bars, STAGE American Vaudeville Nightclub, is a new animal altogether. And, well, it’s something to behold.
The space itself is broken up into different themed sections. Enter through the Library Room, flanked with speakeasy-style décor and a small front stage, leading into the main rooms by way of a faux library shelf door, which spills into to the sprawling space composed of the Lyra Lounge, a dance floor, and by the main stage, black leather VIP booths where you can sip on the venue’s twists on classic drinks from the 1920s-1940s. Think: sparkling wine-topped Bathtub Gin “75” ($14), Bootlegger’s Mint Juleps ($15), and a vodka- and citrus-fueled Stage Pink Lady ($14).
Amidst all the tippling, you’ll pretty much have something to look at at all times. Be it an acrobatic dance in the lyra hoop hanging from the ceiling above the golden stretch booth (where performers wear everything from burlesque outfits to gorilla suits and unicorn masks), roving troupes of b-boy dancers, and even, shall we say, a “little” menagerie of Katy Perry/Nikki Minaj/Britney Spears impersonators twerking and lip-synching. Also: hula hoop dancers, Rod Stewart impersonators, and a master illusionist walking around performing random acts of magic on the crowd (and he’s quite good). Many of the performers hail from Emerson’s performing arts program, located around the corner.
When asked where the limits are for the performances, or if they will be including things like LGBTQ nights and drag performers, co-owner Russ deMarino quips with a smile: “If you can imagine it, you’ll see it here.”
So far, there’s nothing to suggest otherwise.
STAGE AMERICAN VAUDEVILLE NIGHTCLUB. SOFT OPEN NOW. 19 BOYLSTON PL., BOSTON. 617-982-3000.
Dan is a freelance journalist and has written for publications including Vice, Esquire, the Daily Beast, Fast Company, Pacific Standard, MEL, Leafly, Thrillist, and DigBoston.