1970s-theme bar and performance space opens downtown

Can you dig it?

Square Bar, a Seventies-themed bar and efficiency house, simply opened at New Orleans Square, 900 Karen Ave., on the southern fringe of Commercial Center.

New Orleans Square options Big Easy-style wrought iron railings, and it homes a wildly quirky mixture of small companies: a youth orchestra, a B-movie venue, restoration facilities, a purveyor of horror collectibles, artwork galleries, a espresso store, a barber clipping $10 haircuts, an outpost of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and about 4 dozen others.

Square Bar suits proper in.

And that was the purpose, mentioned Eric Gladstone, principal of The Feast of Friends, who got here aboard to assist develop Square Bar after Las Vegas Lounge, the earlier tenant, closed at the start of the pandemic.

“I felt there was all this nostalgia for the ’70s. In the thick of COVID, when it just felt like the world was crumbling, wouldn’t it be great to create a place where you could escape and go back to an era where the biggest issue was who you were going to go home with that night?”

Showing your stripes, kind of

Renovations took a couple of yr at Square Bar, which consists of a giant bar, a lounge, and a eating room with a stage. Interwoven earth-toned bands — half stripe, half circuit, half schematic — course throughout the partitions and ground, summoning (with out merely quoting) the horizontal stripes of ’70s design.

Nancy Good, the artist in residence at Square Bar and a gallery proprietor in New Orleans Square, painted the bands, in addition to a rest room mural composed of brightly patterned biomorphic ribbons (suggestive of tangled tentacles) that glow within the black gentle.

“I grew up in the ’70s, but I didn’t want to have this very dated retro look,” Good mentioned of her inventive method to the mission. “I wanted to have something that still acknowledged and gave an appreciative nod to the ’70s while also leading it into a more contemporary, crisp, urban feel that would not be dated very fast.”

Also of observe, design-wise: globed fixtures product of amber glass hanging above the lounge, from that ’70s second when interiors regarded to Spain for inspiration (if not at all times for authenticity).

Groovy, not kitschy

When harnessing the look (and food and drinks) of the Seventies, typically seen because the time that style forgot, there may be at all times the problem of balancing straightforward kitsch with knowledgeable grooviness. You wish to nod (and wink), however you don’t wish to go too far; you don’t need foolish. (Square Bar, in any case, exists in 2022.)

“It’s tricky with nostalgia because you can go to the most surface-level elements of an era, the plastic lunch box version of history,” Gladstone mentioned. “We’re avoiding the kitschy stuff, however there’s not a particular class of something that’s banned right here. Just a little little bit of the whole lot, however you’re going to get the good things.

“We want you to feel as if you are in the 1970s but with the advancements we have now. You can charge your phone.”

The ’70s, he added, additionally noticed the ultimate flourishing of Old Vegas, of “iconic Vegas as Vegas, and that’s something we wanted to celebrate.”

Putting his twist on the menu

Francisco J. Alvarez, former govt chef at Madero Street Tacos and El Gallo downtown, is chef de celebration (so his enterprise card reads) at Square Bar. The menu consists of some ’70s requirements, he mentioned, with out resurrecting them wholesale (so, alas, no eggs in aspic).

“The reason I came here is because I got the opportunity to create something from a different time, but put my own twist to it,” the chef mentioned.

Look for three-cheese fondue with bread cubes, say, or a meatball celebration tray; a pan-fried bologna sandwich with Lay’s potato chips or Spam and bacon bites or canine; lemon meringue pie or a McDonald’s-style fried apple pie (whose Apple Pie Tree character the chain launched within the Seventies.)

Elsewhere on the menu, you may discover a breakfast burrito (an Alvarez specialty downtown), Chinese hen wraps, fish and chips (with a taro chip replace), pancakes a la mode or a charcuterie board (with an unrevealed twist).

The cocktail menu consists of that ’70s pour, revised with trendy spirits (so, thank God, no Wolfschmidt vodka). In the rotation: a Pink Pussycat, a Rusty Nail, a Harvey Wallbanger and a cocktail for each zodiac signal.

Inspired by cabaret and ground exhibits

Phil Kotler is the leisure and occasions supervisor of Square Bar. He’s a longtime chief of the Vegas improv and comedy group who performs weekly with Bleach, a comedy group, at Vegas Theatre Company within the Arts District.

Kotler mentioned he’ll carry to the stage a mixture of diversions: stand-up, burlesque, reside music, Coco Bongo-inspired performances and extra. The leisure program, he mentioned, “is our version of classic ’70s cabaret and floor shows.”

So at Square bar: a pot of fondue, a Pink Pussycat and a present.

Can you dig it?

Contact Johnathan L. Wright at jwright@reviewjournal.com. Follow @ItsJLW on Twitter.

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