Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Cave

(Prohibition, when caves and alcohol didn't always mix.)


There are tales about the basement I sit in, some real and some rumored.

The wood floor in the Bordeaux Room really is the original dance floor from when that was the ball room during the Hotel's heyday.

The Glendale News Press in 1998 wrote, "The basement adjoined the Silver Room, which [Clark] Gable and the World War II crowd is said to have frequented...and in the basement today you find The Cave...four chambers that rest on the old ballroom dance floor...amid concrete walls and thick pine doors."

The thick concrete walls of this underground cavern and hidden passage ways, a deliberate design for a speakeasy? Prohibition began 1920 and the Hotel opened 1925. That the restaurant and ballroom were in the basement at all is generally considered one of the great design flaws of this building (of many...), or was it entirely by design?

The busy-ness of shipping season led into the busy-ness of Thanksgiving, and I'm not really sure what happened here Thanksgiving eve because I saw nothing, but in a totally unrelated vein...

There is one bottle missing in action, a barley beer, if I recall correctly. I bypassed the smoked porter - love porter, not so much smoked - but the Jubel 2010 Once-A-Decade Ale was quite delicious. Of course not only was I not here, but I was working diligently when I was here, so where the rest of this stuff went is beyond me.

There are about two hundred people who come to The Cave. One gentleman who's been here six years recently commented how he's never seen anyone else while here, and it's true, it can go like that. What I like about being here (one of the many things) is that over time I get a bit of a sense of who collects what or who's interested in what, and once, maybe twice a year two people with similar interests will intersect. I'll introduce them, try to steer it through some awkward conversation, and then, if all goes according to plan, step out if it entirely and watch them take off. It is such deep satisfaction, as it was Thanksgiving eve; you know it's going well when everyone involved gets to the "I'll show you mine if you show me yours" stage.

Certain traditions live here, came here as part of this place and remain, these thick concrete walls where they gathered and still do, at The Cave.