Back in the ‘good old days’ when we had disposable income, we used to frequent a club called Respectable Street on the 500 block of Clematis in West Palm Beach. I wrote about it in a previous post. It’s known affectionately as Respects to those who go there often.
You don’t go to Respects before midnight, because there won’t be anybody there. Things get going strong about 1:00 am, and we may or may not have at one time closed the place around five in the morning with everyone left standing around the bar and singing, for no particular reason, Strawberry Fields Forever. The music is loud and thumping and the dance floor fills with people who are too busy doing their own thing to notice whether or not you have the latest moves down. When there isn’t live music on the stage, they have a DJ playing dance music.
The place has been redone over the years. When I first started going there they had a black and white checkered dance floor. That’s gone now; the floor of the whole place is hardwood. They used to have about eight huge booths along one side of the room. Those are gone, too, replaced with a long banquette along that whole wall, with little peninsulas that stick out into the room every few feet. I suppose that’s better; there are more places to sit.
The bar is cool, a little J at the back of the dance floor, directly opposite of the stage at the front of the building. It’s made of glass blocks and lit with LED lights that change color.
There’s another stage out back in the courtyard, usually playing a different kind of music from whatever’s playing inside. I like to say the ‘outback’ is the domain of the Sleestaks and Orcs. If you get those references, bless your heart.
One of my favorite memories of being at Respects began with us waiting outside waiting to go in. There was supposed to be a Rolling Stones tribute band, which I didn’t care anything about, but lots of our friends were supposed to be there. There was a delay in letting the crowd in due to a power outtage. Fortunately for us, some of our friends were already inside and talked the door guys into letting us in. We entered the dark club, and it’s always dark, so who could tell the difference? We got some drinks and stood chatting in the unusually quiet space. The band had given up trying to set up and were waiting for the power to be restored. That’s when the sax player took his horn, leaned against the front of the stage, and began to play the theme from The Godfather. He was wearing a fedora, a fact we could see because he was backlit from the light coming in from the street.
It was a cool and surreal moment, one of those serendipitous ones you couldn’t plan if you tried. Those are my favorite kind.