Most of us reading this have not been around long enough to have experienced the heyday of the speakeasies in Montreal — the secrecy, the debauchery, and oh-la-la the women. Lucky for us, marketing master mind Jeremy Hetchman, has reached into the past and brought one back. He calls it “The Wiggle Room”.
“All of the corruption from the pre-Drapeau era is back so we can have a place like this again!” exclaims Hetchman with a twinkle in his eye. To say Jeremy has character is like saying King Kong was a chimp.
The Wiggle Room experience starts the minute you approach the non-discrete, all black front door (which is easy to miss unless you know where you are going). You expect a panel to be slid open and be asked a password. “People told me that I needed to put the logo on the door but I wanted to keep it authentic,” says Hetchman. From the long, narrow stairway to the bright red ticket booth the Wiggle Room is full of secrets and surprises.
Once you have stepped past the ticket booth you get the feeling you have been transported back into the 1920’s. “The inspiration for the place came from the first half of the 20th century,” shares Hetchman. When he speaks about his place you can feel the excitement coming off him. He has worked hard in putting together the Wiggle Room and it has paid off in the details.
Hetchman is no stranger to the entertainment business. He produced the award winning Montreal Fringe Festival for 15 years, followed by another of his babies, the Mainline Theater where he produced, wrote, and directed to critical acclaim. Hetchman has been called a lovable rouge, an idiot savant and the Meanest Son-of-a -Bitch in Montreal. When asked about his past with the two projects he signs and smiles, “I have been in the business for over 25 years, times have changed and the spots needed to be filled by younger people with new ideas. Or maybe I just outgrew them?”
Hetchman continues, “Fringe was kind of like my first apartment right after college, but the Wiggle Room is my first house!” And what a house it is.
Ask anyone who works or preforms at the Wiggle Room, and they will tell you that something about the place brings out the naughty in people. There is a certain mystique about the atmosphere that helps you leave your troubles at the door and get transported back to an easier time. “Nothing feeds into satisfaction like vice, and at the Wiggle Room everyone is treated like a VIP,” boasts Hetchman.
A good part of the club’s charm is in the details, knowing what to look for will help, and here are a few tips: If you examine the front of the bar, you will notice that is has been constructed from old confessional doors. The bathrooms stalls were specifically built for two people, “and one for three,” claims Hetchman.
With drinks the likes of Vesper Martini’s and Brandy Alexander’s (as well as many off the menu drinks, one special drink only the owner can order for you), performers with names like Cherry Typhoon and Kitty Vanderbuilt, the Wiggle Room is a step above your average club. If your tastes stray a little from the beaten path, if a little part of you is feeling adventurous on a Saturday evening, the Wiggle Room is well worth the trip.
The Wiggle Room is located at 3874 St. Laurent and is open six nights a week.