With Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby opening, there’s no better time to celebrate the spirit of the Roaring 20’s. From speakeasies to grande dame hotels, the members and editors of VirtualTourist.com have chosen the “Top 5 Places to relive the 1920s.”
• The Rose Club & The Champagne Bar, The Plaza Hotel, New York City. The Plaza Hotel has a storied history in both The Great Gatsby and author F. Scott Fitzgerald’s life: The hotel is featured in the novel as a meeting spot, but it was also where Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald spent part of their honeymoon. This month, in honor of the opening of the film, the hotel has coordinated a collection of experiences to celebrate the novel, film and the hotel’s role in the time period.
The hotel’s iconic Champagne Bar, often a meeting place in Fitzgerald’s novels, has been transformed into a Moet Pop-Up illustrating the glamour and decadence of Gatsby’s famous partners. The bar will serve a Moet Champagne cocktail named the “Moet Imperial Gatsby,” as well as serve Moet Imperial by the glass. The Rose Club will host Gatsby Hour on Wednesday and Thursday evenings complete with a live jazz band and a Prohibition-inspired cocktail menu featuring old favorites like the “Hemingway Daiquiri” and the “Blood & Sand.”
• Pour Vous, Los Angeles. Pour Vous, a cocktail lounge on Melrose Avenue, is modeled after Paris in the 1920s with red velvet banquettes, small cafe tables, and decadent chandeliers. The cocktail menu is a 21st century mixologist’s take on classic favorites, with thematic names like the “Moulin Rouge” and “La Vie en Rose.” The bar is also known for its punch bowls, which serve up to 20 drinks. In addition to the decor and excellent cocktails, the venue has live music as well as burlesque dancing on most nights.
• Les Deux Magots, Paris. Les Deux Magots, meaning “two Chinese figurines,” is one of the most storied of the literary cafes of Paris, where famed artists like Picasso and Hemingway would congregate. The cafe is also a perfect spot from which to begin exploring the Left Bank. Located on the Place St. Germain des Pres, the cafe is across from the Eglise de Saint Germain des Pres, a short walk from the Saint Suplice, and down the street from Laduree and L’Hotel, where Oscar Wilde lived and wrote until his death.
• Napier, New Zealand. It’s off the beaten path, but multiple VirtualTourist members suggested the town of Napier, New Zealand, as a great spot to relive the 1920s. The small town is situated on Hawke’s Bay on the North Island of New Zealand. After a massive 7.8 earthquake leveled the city in the early 20th century, the entire area was rebuilt in Art Deco style. The town offers guided walks and tours, self-drive tours and “Deco by Bike,” where visitors can cycle around the city on a self-guided tour. It also has an annual Art Deco Weekend each February, during New Zealand’s summer, with costumed attendees, performers, and hundreds of vintage automobiles that bring the Gilded Age back to life.
• Clover Club, Brooklyn, New York. While the Plaza might be the venue named in Fitzgerald’s novels, The Clover Club could fool many fans of the era. The club, named after a group of Philadelphia journalists, harkens back to another time with a mahogany bar from 1892, a gilded ceiling and tiled flooring. Located in Brooklyn’s tony neighborhood of Cobble Hill, the venue is known for its interior, its brunch and its mixology, with a menu featuring single old-fashioned cocktails like the “Clover Club” (gin, dry vermouth, lemon, raspberry syrup and egg whites). Like Pour Vous, Clover Club also has punch options — the recommended selection is the Ambrosia Punch, which serves 4-6 people.