There may never be a nightclub quite like Studio 54, the New York celebrity hangout that exemplified the all-out excess of 1970s America.
And no one summarizes the scene better than Jordan Rontagh of "Rolling Stone," who writes: "For 33 months, Studio 54 was the American bacchanal, an unprecedented mix of glamorous sophistication and primal hedonism … The sex, drugs and disco on offer at Studio 54 served as the perfect release for a generation raised under the pressures of Watergate and the Vietnam War. Though the club was ultimately destroyed by vice and greed, its short reign defined the flashy exuberance of the late Seventies, before the scourge of AIDS ended the party forever."
Relive the magic
The longevity of Studio 54 was short-lived, but its legacy has lived on for more than three generations. And for two days next week, Free Pour and Phoenix Cocktail Club will partner up to bring back the spirit of the disco-era nightclub with a cocktail takeover the likes of which you’ve never seen.
The Studio 54 pop-up will take place at Phoenix Cocktail Club, 785 N. Jefferson St., on Wednesday, Aug. 23 and Thursday, Aug. 24 from 5 p.m. to close.
And there’s only one rule, espoused by Studio 54 itself: For a good party, invite guests who are more interesting than you, and leave your inhibitions at home.
During the pop-up, both the cocktails and the atmosphere will be transformed into a modern-day Studio 54, complete with Warhol prints, disco balls, balloons and a DJ offering up a dance-worthy play-list featuring mash-ups of '70s-era and modern tunes.
A corresponding cocktail menu, created by Aubrey Dodd of Free Pour and Adam Sarkis of Phoenix Cocktail Club, will capture the decadent spirit of Studio 54 with unique, over-the-top riffs on classic cocktails, including:
- Miami Vice: a blended drink straight off the Studio 54 menu, served in a disco-ball cup.
- Midori Sour Slushie: a bright green watermelon slushie with Midori and Midori Sour, gin, Green Chartreuse and lime. Fun fact: Midori first launched their product in 1978 at Studio 54 during a party held by the cast and crew of "Saturday Night Fever."
- Long Island: classic long island topped off with citrus soda infused with butterfly pea flowers, giving the drink a purple hue.
- Million Dollar Daquiri: a classic daiquiri topped off with sparkling rose.
- Montucky Cold Snack with Pisco Horse Neck slushie chaser: this cocktail pays homage to Bianca Jagger's notable Studio 54 appearance on a white horse.
- Port Point: another Studio 54 classic. This riff on the vieux carre is made without brandy, giving it more of a Manhattan-esque flavor. The cocktail will be laced with edible gold glitter.
- Down and Dirty Martini: a decadent dirty martini served with bacon fat washed Tito's vodka, sea salt and garnished with edible gold leaf stuffed olives.
- Golden Cadillac: a riff on the classic featuring Galliano, cold brew coffee, old fashioned vanilla ice cream, chocolate bitters. Served with a vanilla bean "blunt."
Dodd says the collaborative event captures the playful spirit of both Phoenix Cocktail Club and Free Pour, which specializes in experiential classes and themed cocktail-based events.
"I see people go out every weekend," she says. "And everyone is seeking that one experience that will give them the best night of their lives. Studio 54 really embodied that spirit, and it’s what this event is all about."
Lori Fredrich (Lo) is an eater, writer, wonderer, bon vivante, traveler, cook, gardener and girlwonder. Born and raised in the Milwaukee area, she has tried to leave many times, but seems to be drawn to this quirky city that smells of beer and alewives.
Some might say that she is a little obsessed with food. Lo would say she is A LOT obsessed with food. After all, she has been cooking, eating and enjoying food for decades and has no plans to retire anytime soon.
Lo's recipes and writing have been featured in a variety of publications including GO: Airtran Inflight Magazine, Cheese Connoisseur, Cooking Light, Edible Milwaukee, Milwaukee Magazine and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, as well as on the blog Go Bold with Butter, the web site Wisconsin Cheese Talk, and in the quarterly online magazine Grate. Pair. Share.