Anyone who knows me well enough knows that I’m not a vintage enthusiast. It’s not that I don’t like vintage, it’s just that I’ve never given much thought to the 20’s, or any other long-ago decade when it comes to dressing up… or in general, besides back in AP History class. So, when I received an invitation to attend the newly renovated, swanky Culver Hotel’s 90th anniversary party, I was: 1.) excited, and 2.) a bit concerned.
You see, it was an invitation to the fancy Prohibition Ball, with 20’s attire absolutely required for admission! After a bit of Googling and consulting a few of my favorite vintage-loving friends (shoutout to Sumita, Samantha and Rachael!), I was able to assemble an outfit, complete with 20’s-esque makeup and hair accessories. The feather pin in my hair (see video below) was actually one I made myself at the Lightning in a Bottle festival last year!
So anyways, with my friends’ help I was decked out and ready to go. As my friend Sam and I explored each of the three — yes, THREE! — hotel stories along with Rachael and other writer friends we found along the way, we were amazed at how all-out the historic venue went for this very special occasion.
Seven years in the making, the newly renovated hotel has transformed into a classy, unique venue with plenty of personality. Each area of the historic hotel had distinct decor and held different surprises for us.
Some of my favorites are highlighted in this little video:
We entered via red carpet and were promptly served “Old Sport” cocktails with fennel seeds, cacao rum, Galliano and lime juice. That was the exact point where Sam and I looked at each other with big grins on our faces, accessories in our hair and beads around our necks… and the adventure simply escalated from there.
There was a cake cutting ceremony with a burlesque dancer bursting out of a larger-than-life cake, a fun flipbook photobooth, a rolled cigar and whiskey bar, different Prohibition-themed cocktails served at each of the hotel’s multitude of bars, and even a Blackjack table!
Live entertainment, silent films projected onto the walls, dancing, and attendees’ elaborate Roaring 20’s outfits really made me believe I had time traveled back almost an entire century– except for the fact that people were taking selfies on their smartphones, and I still had my FitBit on my wrist (every step counts… and must be counted)! It was like we had hopped in a time machine.
The entire event was open bar. Or should I say, multiple bars on each beautifully decked-out floor! There were drinks with names like”Prohibition Punch” and “Dorothy’s Daiquiri,” with “The Wizard of Oz” playing in the background.
There was confetti. There were tasty passed appetizers involving lamb, crab and mousse, and a whole new menu of late-night snacks when the clock turned midnight, involving gourmet sliders and crispy fries. They knew exactly what we wanted, and gave it to us before we even knew we wanted it!
Some of my absolute favorite moments include all the curious looks we got on the patio from the many people (still stuck in 2014, poor things!) passing by the hotel. Another memorable moment was getting to pour a drink behind the bar inside The Vault, which is a small room that they opened up for the first time, just for this very special event (see end of video above).
You see, The Vault really was where they kept all the money back in the day, and there’s even a giant hole blasted in the wall of the small room, where robbers had tried to enter to steal the loot using dynamite! True story, people. How cool is that? I was definitely geeking out.
I can now say that I am a true fan of the 20’s, as I got to experience the era as close as it gets to time traveling, thanks to the Culver Hotel’s 90 years of existence! Seven years of renovations in the making, the new and beautifully designed historic building is truly worth checking out.
Here’s to another 90-plus years, Culver Hotel. Age has indeed only made you better, like a fine wine… or an aged cheese! And although I am still in my “Roaring 20’s,” I think we can all toast to aging gracefully. Cheers!