You can hear Boogie Woogie’s long before you see it. They pipe whatever music is being played inside out to the Second Avenue sidewalk loud and clear. Curious bus patrons across the street were so inspired by Monday night’s classic rock cover band they engaged in a heated hackey sack session worthy of Olympic gold.
The music was just as loud inside the club. Merchandise, Rolling Stone covers and pictures and a door man asking for a five-dollar cover greeted me and a Karate black-belt named Justin at the door.
To our left was a cozy room with two pool tables and wall seating, to the right was an enormous bar with three TVs sporting what appeared to be three different ESPN “Sportscenters,” a lot of high tables, a few lower ones, a big stage that usually hosts dueling pianos – tonight housing a middle-aged classic rock cover band – and a bunch of waitresses in short black skirts and tight black T-shirts. The attire of wait staff is usually not important enough to mention, let alone even notice. But when every one of them is in tight black and looks like what mainstream America considers to be very attractive, you take notice. Fortunately the service was great. Of course it was quite a slow night and the black belt and I looked damn good ourselves.
After ordering a good cocktail I realized the first thing I didn’t like. The music was too damn loud. Don’t get me wrong, I can appreciate a tight Van Morrison or Steely Dan cover as much as the next guy, but sometimes you’ve got to be able to hear the dirt on your mates’ shitty lives.
The sound system and mix was good, except for a couple feedback incidents during the second set. The band, I’ll call them “The band with an easily forgettable name” was proficient and tight. If you like that sort of thing, check out Monday.
Wednesday through Sunday Boogie Woogies hosts its main shtick. Single and dueling pianos. A few people have been professing their love for this act but alas many still doubt the entertainment value of dueling pianos. To their credit they are probably easier to talk over than a really loud classic rock cover band. Rumor has it people dance to the duels but they’re probably harder to dance to than classic rock, maybe not. A middle-aged couple was doing fun little hustle meets swing dance moves to the delight of the mostly middle-aged Monday night crowd.
Our friendly and attentive waitress Paige informed us that there are younger crowds often, and it is generally a mixed bag. The black belt was sure the place was also a great place for singles to mingle. Paige verified this as being at least partially true. She also said there were a lot of those stylish swing fans who came out to boogie to the pianos.
She said Boogie’s is popular for large groups, like weddings and others, because they do a “showtime” a few times a night that consists of some wait staff getting up on tables and leading the enthusiastic audience in the “hand jive” and other popular group dances. That sounds a little scary, but the parents might like it right?
If dancing makes you hungry, or you are just hungry, Boogie’s has a full menu served late that should satisfy. The fare is pretty standard cajun-influenced Northwestern upscale club style, and a little pricy. Sandwiches and such push $10 while a la carte entrees push $20.
Appetizers include fried alligator nuggets, barbequed shrimp, oysters and tastily breaded fried chicken strips with fries. Unfortunately the fries were thin and could have used a little seasoning. They offer a crawdaddy cocktail whose menu description begins with the traditional process for ingesting said critter: “Eat me, Bite me, Suck me.” Indeed the process is half the fun, if you like that sort of thing. The description goes on to divulge saddening information that they serve crawfish tail meat all sauced up and dished into a martini glass. Boo. Crawfish need to be served boiled in a beer sauce with a beer to wash the tail fat out of your teeth.
Most sandwiches are standard with the exception of a blackened salmon and seven different po’ boys, another Louisiana staple.
Entrees are mostly beef or chicken in various tasty sounding incarnations, if you like those sorts of things. Five flavors of jambalaya, bronzed salmon,and a sweet potato shepherd’s pie all look tasty and interesting.
Boogie’s looks good and feels comfortable, but still seems a little too much like a baby boomer hangout.
Whether at an office party, in a group of singles or with a date, Boogie’s is worth checking out once to find out if it is your sort of thing.
Cover for piano nights range from $4 to $7. Reservations for food are recommended on weekend nights. The phone number is (503) 417- 8717 and they are located at 915 S.W. Second Street. 21 and over only.