Man overboard! Cruise Room looks great, but those flapper outfits have to go
The long-promised remodel of McCormick's Fish House & Bar in the Oxford Hotel was completed last month and celebrated at a pair of parties this week, where a few innovations were revealed in the legendary Cruise Room.
Elyse Mitchell The revamped Cruise Room.
We understood that the original marble floor was a hazard, and the replacement is a more than fair exchange. And although we miss the electrical buzz of the bar, that had to go, too. We even can understand the addition of more contemporary music to the great jukebox, and the introduction of a hip new cocktail list -- although this bar was already plenty hip without resorting to trendy gimmicks. But there is one thing we cannot understand...
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The flapper outfits on the servers.
The Cruise Room opened on December 6, 1933, the day after Prohibition was repealed -- and years after the flapper era ended.
The art deco bar, fashioned in the shape of a wine bottle, was modeled after one of the lounges on the Queen Mary, with bas relief "toasts" on the wall from around the world. (The toast from Germany -- with a picture of Hitler -- disappeared during World War II.) We appreciate that the renovation respected all these historic aspects of the bar, which is on the National Register. But that respect should carry through to the uniforms. We're not suggesting that the servers have to be dressed for the breadlines; the simple white shirts/black slacks or skirts they wore for decades worked much better than this history theme-park look. (And the red bustiers that the bartenders are now wearing are an even odder, and chilly, historic throwback: Flappers did away with corsets in the 1920s. )
If Tilman Fertitta, the new owner of the McCormick's & Schmick chain (as well as a dozen other restaurants around town), is determined to make this historic bar an old-timey attraction, why not just put the servers in Titanic life jackets and pretend they're Molly Brown? At least that would be in keeping with the Cruise Room's ship-shape theme.