Only whisper the name….
In the February/March Edition of DW&S, we reviewed both the Prohibition Museum in Savannah, Georgia and the book Prohibition by Edward Behr. We touched on the dark and often basement world of the Prohibition-era speakeasy. Often visitors would give both the secret knock and the password at a hidden door. Behind the door, visitors would find both cocktails and entertainment. Jazz music, dancing, and even some burlesque could be seen at a speakeasy.
We published the Prohibition review and immediately received an invitation from Grandstaff & Stein in Richmond, Virginia.
On Main Street in Richmond, there is a secret door. Visitors only whisper the name, Grandstaff & Stein. Behind the door is a world that many locals do not even know…AND they serve brunch! Now you know!
DW&S Richmond writer, Paula Thomasson volunteered to walk through a bookcase and a secret door to visit Grandstaff & Stein. And this is what she found…
When I heard that Grandstaff & Stein had a burlesque brunch, I knew that I had to experience it first hand. As a long-time Richmond local and DW&S writer, I have experienced many RVA restaurants, pubs and entertainment venues. It’s nice to have a little variety when eating out around Richmond, something different with a bit of mix of intrigue, history, and a bit of spice.
Walk by 2113 East Main Street in Richmond, Virginia
A passerby from the street may glance in and see a small room with a single desk and several filled bookcases. It could be an office or a personal library. Nothing about it stands out unless you have the password. I went inside, and I whispered a password. A bookcase swung open to invite me to a hidden gem. At this point, I have to say that this was the most unique experience for brunch that I have ever experienced in Richmond. Part mystery, part Prohibition-esc and all served with a vintage menu of cocktails.
Entering through a bookcase, was a first for me. Behind it, and down a small hallway, the room warmed with wood, lights, and tables made of whiskey barrels. The bar is stocked with everything needed for a fun burlesque brunch.
I tried “The Shiv” mixed with bourbon, pineapple habanero shrub, and honey syrup. The drink was definitely *berries. I not only learned about this vintage recipe, but I also learned some 1920’s jargon. *Berries: like “bee’s knees,” means that something is good or pleasing. “That sounds like berries to me!” If you are going to drink in a speakeasy, you need to use the jargon.
The drink menu has fun speakeasy-themed offerings, along with morning favorites like Mimosas and Bellinis.
Burlesque in Richmond
I will admit, I had no idea what to expect from a Brunch Burlesque Show. So, I ordered the French toast and waited for the show to start. While everyone enjoyed their brunch plate, several bearcat dancers entertained diners with a fun, friendly burlesque show. The experience was tasteful. Patrons clapped along had a great time. What are bearcat dancers? Well, that’s another Prohibition-era term that I learned. It means a spirited or lively woman, possibly with a fiery streak. Makes sense. Women who frequented a speakeasy in the 1920s were known to be spirited and lively.
Grandstaff & Stein hosts additional theme events including a Bunco night and a Book & Supper Club. There is even some outdoor dining space available, tucked between buildings to add privacy. The entire space is available to host a private party, but you will need to include a password in your invite.
With a hint of warm weather on the horizon, I want to return to enjoy the outdoor dining…I think that it is going to be a darb* experience. (That means something splendid or wonderful in speakeasy jargon)
If you would like to visit Grandstaff & Stein, start this unique experience by visiting their website: www.grandstaffandstein.com Don’t forget, the only way to walk through the bookcase is to know the password!
Read more about things to do in Richmond: Scott’s Addition – Take a Walk.