The Hideout

It took me a good four months even to realize the Hideout existed just a couple blocks from my apartment. Hordes of hipsters smoke cigarettes outside the unprepossessing joint, blocking the sidewalk and making it nearly impossible to navigate its entrance. But past their billows of smoke lies Vital 5 Productions’ trendy bar/art venue. Inside, the Hideout is styled like a swanky 1800s French salon, complete with original paintings, black velvet curtains, and cushy seats. Its cocktails are served with quirky garnishes like chocolates and cigars. (My personal favorite, the $9 Andy Warhol, is a cosmopolitan that comes with a Polaroid photo of you and your friends.) Late in the evening, the place fills up with solo patrons on their laptops (sorry, no wi-fi) and bohemian intellectual circles having intimate conversations about, oh, I don’t know . . . the latest avant-garde trends in the arts? The phenomenology of Weimar puppet theater? The new show at the Lawrimore Project or Western Bridge? Or maybe just the latest episode of Gossip Girl. But pay attention when one of Vital 5’s periodic “discreet theater” events erupts: Actors pose as bar patrons to enact scandalous, often salacious conversational scenes. I’ve overhead—OK, eavesdropped—on some incredible stories, but of whether or not they were true I’m still uncertain. ERIKA HOBART

Starts: Dec. 29. Daily, 4 p.m., 2008

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