On a block devoted to fluorescence and fast food, a small sign above blank black doors marks the entrance to Speak. But don’t expect a Chumley’s-style speakeasy. Speak throws its lot in with the “one-word-named” club/lounge scene. Glitz and glamour may have been the designer’s goal, but the starburst chandeliers and mirrored checkerboard tables smack more of your high school’s version of “Clubbin’ Nite.”
Beer drinkers will balk at paying the $6 ransom for a bottle of Bud. To be fair, though, Speak doesn’t pretend to be a beer hall. There are no taps, and the most exotic bottle is Stella (Hint: it’s the same price as the Coors). Your best bet is to skip the suds and try one of the signature Blood Martinis; finally someone made a drink using beet juice.
Despite the gaudiness, there’s potential. The rear half of Speak consists of ample dance space ringed by a dozen or so clamshell booths. Candles and chandeliers bathe the area in diffused, flattering light. There’s a stage for live music, and a DJ booth suggests that the beats get better than Club Grooves Vol. IV. One can imagine a throng of dancers grinding while hopefuls sip Hennessy in the sideline banquettes.
It’s not going to be your new neighborhood bar, but Speak may be the place to mob in with a group of friends and take over the dance floor. Then again, you could enjoy a round of chocolate Frosties next door for the price of one Georgi and tonic.