Noah Ray's grandmother probably never guessed that her waffle recipe would be served up at a bar -- yet, for some reason, it's a natural fit alongside fried chicken and Motown. After only a month and a half, Beauty Bar's newest venture already has a following of sweaty dancers and casual, chilled-out drinkers, qualifying it as the funkiest -- and most delicious -- Tuesday-night-out on the scene.
At 10:30, Noah Ray, owner of Beauty Bar, is apron-clad and hair-netted, dutifully tending to his waffle iron. It's already a good crowd, even though DJ Caramello (aka Miggy Camacho) thinks everyone headed for the hills to see Justice at Red Rocks. A crowd of Capitol Hill dwellers and industry locals are hovering around the bar, grabbing beers and plates of chicken and waffles like it ain't no thing. Just another Tuesday night...right?
I dip into the dance floor to see if any brave souls have started the party, and Jamie Halladay is the first one out there -- same as last week, same as Mile High Soul Club a few weeks ago. He's wearing his trademark bandana, and already showing the sheen of someone who has been at it for a while. This guy loves to dance, and he's good. His partner-in-crime, Mitch Slevc will be out here soon. I'm sure of it. It's impossible not to get out on the dance floor with these two, and a few minutes later, like clockwork, a couple is out there, along with a few groups of friends and some lone Motown enthusiasts.
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DJ Caramello and DJ Maladjusted split their time between the former's Serato and vinyl and the latter's 45s, spinning everything from Dusty Springfield and Marlena Shaw to James Brown and Smokey Robinson. "We've known Noah for a long time," says Caramello, "and when he wanted to do a Motown night, we wanted to be part of it. The chicken and waffles were Noah's idea, and he uses his grandmother's recipe." In terms of the music, "it's what we grew up on," says Maladjusted -- and Miggy agrees. "Everyone can relate to Motown. The content is timeless."
Back on the dance floor, an awkward, almost middle-school-era circle has formed, with dancers egging each other on; of course, unofficially lead by Halladay and Slevc. Some classic moves are utilized along with some general funkiness that must be inspired by the Soul Train and James Brown footage being played on the projector. People move freely and casually between dancing and hanging out in the bar area, where clusters of friends mingle over tables, munching on chicken, absentmindedly moving their hips to the music.
By 12:30, the night seems to be winding down. A few people have arrived after their bar and restaurant shifts, with the earlier patrons disbanding and heading home. For a Tuesday night, they did pretty well -- even with the Justice show. After just two times, Motown Tuesdays has quickly become one of my favorite hangouts.
You can make what you want of it -- you can relax and have a beer in the bar, or you could be dripping sweat in the next room over. You could pretend to come in and have a drink, but really just indulge your inner Roscoe's demon. It's never too crowded, but always seems to have the perfect amount of crowd buzz. Whether you're feeling high energy or low energy, you can tailor the experience to what you want--and no matter what, DJ Caramello and Maladjusted will be spinning great Motown, Funk, and Soul, straight from the heart -- something we can all feel good about.
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