It’s about time.
Years ago, I frequented The Swing Lounge on Main Street in Over-the-Rhine. It was a classy place, with a central bar, a dance floor, rounded booths, and pool tables. But bars come and go, and The Swing Lounge closed. Since then, I haven’t been able to find a bar that has that same level of sophistication. Since then, styles have changed a bit and the cool retro is now ‘60s martinis instead of ‘40s swing. And my new Swing Lounge is called Twist, owned by The Jean-Robert Restaurant Group, and located on 4th Street, next door to Pigall’s.
Twist definitely pulls some of its ambiance from Shag’s 60’s. But there’s also a cosmopolitan feel to the place – perhaps brought from the gorgeous chandeliers of flowers, imported from Paris and hanging near both the front and back of the club. I didn’t get his name, but I was impressed with the dj. He mashed up familiar tunes with some House, creating something unfamiliar but approachable. It was a truly eclectic mix.
We arrived a little before midnight on a Saturday night. While it was busy, you could still move through the place without too much issue. As it got a little later, the crowd thinned and Twist was filled with beautiful people in beautiful clothes. My friend asked me, “Do they even let ugly people in here?” I realized that the patrons spanned all races and ages, placing me squarely in the middle of the age range. As the clocked ticked down the hours until closing, we watched the club progress from a bit of a meat market to a much more relaxed atmosphere.
I was in jeans, flats and a blazer, having come straight from the
Action Auction, and I felt a little under-dressed. There were girls in
jeans, without a doubt, but they also had on smaller shirts and higher
heels. Other girls were in cocktail dresses and I even saw a couple
gowns. I’ve been waiting for a place to wear the countless cocktail
dresses hanging in my closet. It looks like there’s finally a club
where I won’t be over-dressed. My friends and I spent most of our time
at Twist enjoying the house Champagne. I’m not sure what sort
of Champagne we were drinking, but I know it was direct from France,
not a sparkler from California. It was creamy and yeasty – I suspect it
might be a smaller Champagne house – and it was quite yummy. At
$10/glass, it should be. Next time I visit Twist I will probably try a martini or see how well they can create a Bourbon Manhattan.
Jean-Robert himself made an extended appearance. I found this highly
amusing. He truly is a Cincinnati celebrity and people were fawning
over him, getting their photos taken with him, sharing hugs and kisses,
and in general just grabbing his attention every which way. I would
think it would be hard to be “on” all the time like that, but there’s a
good chance he really enjoys it. (I did get to meet him last night,
courtesy of an introduction from Bryant (general manager of Chalk), but I promise I didn’t wave, hug, or otherwise act like a groupie.)
We subscribe to the Cincinnati Opera and after a 2–3 hour opera,
we’re usually looking for a place to relax and wind down. It’s hard to
find a place where you can show up in opera dress and be comfortable. Twist
is that place. We’ll drag all our friends here after the shows. I look
forward to going back – I’d like to think I’ve found “my” club again.
Our thanks to Bryant, who treated us for a good portion of the evening!
Twist is located at 127 4th Street, downtown next to Pigall’s. They’re open 7 nights a week from 4 pm to close.
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