Marietta Square’s speakeasy is hard to find, but worth the search. Located on the second floor of the historic Earl Smith Strand Theatre, you will find a little known but locally loved lounge and piano bar called Lumiere.
You need to be in the know to find your way to Lumiere. There is a nondescript door to the left of the box office which is usuallypropped open by a black and white sandwich board with “Lumiere Lounge” on it.
Next, you head up a long flight of stairs that feels like the skeleton of the 82-year old playhouse. As you move closer to the second floor, you’ll hear light piano music, glasses chiming and soft conversation. When you enter, you’ll feel like you have been transported back in time.
The best way to describe the atmosphere at Lumiere is that of a classic speakeasy. There are even silent black and white movies playing on the walls that give you a feeling of being in another era.
Lumiere is calm and relaxing. The lights are low, the furniture is welcoming and the smell of burnt orange peels used in their Old Fashioned draws you to the well-staffed bar in the right corner. With craft cocktails and a diverse selection of microbrews, there is something for everyone.
After you get your drink, make your way to one of the many cushy and intimate spots to sit that the lounge has to offer. There are couches for groups and small candlelit tables that overlook the Square.
If you’re really lucky, you’ll be there on a night where head mixologist Chad Yochem is behind the bar. I asked him what makes Lumiere such an interesting experience and he said:
The community and the fact that it feels private and secretive, which is key at attracting the best clientele … And getting to hang out with Travis and Jay. But above all else, getting to sing and bartend at the same job.
When Chad has a few extra minutes he heads over to the piano which is usually manned by Travis Cottle and together they add ambiance with a version of some classic rock and pop that usually gets the crowd going. It sometimes leads to a mass sing-along of Bohemian Rhapsody.
Or try stopping by on Wednesday nights from 7pm-11pm for open mic stand-up comedy. If you want to try your musical talents, come on Thursday nights for open mic for local musicians.
Whether it’s a retro movie night or an off Broadway play at the Strand you will see patrons stopping by Lumiere for a cocktail that they can bring with them to the show. And many of those patrons come back to Lumiere for another round after the lights go down and the curtains close.
It almost pains me to share this place with the rest of the OTP crew, but I feel it is my duty as someone who appreciates a good drink and the multiple talents of the staff to unveil them to the world.
Kristopher R Drees is a 5 Time Emmy Award Winning News Producer and 40 Year resident of Atlanta, GA. He is an avid hiker, traveler, eater, sports and comedy writer and man-about-town. He has also written about Marietta’s Blue Mist Cafe and Lounge.