James Street Speakeasy

James Street Speakeasy

During the prohibition era of the 1920s when it was illegal to sell alcoholic beverages in the US, there were these establishments known as Speakeasies. Operating as undercover nightclubs that served illegal alcohol, they were quite popular and became a part of American culture. 

That style of small, quaint entertainment venue continues today, without breaking the law of course. On the way back from Canada, in a snow storm to boot, we decided to swing through Pittsburgh and hit the James Street Gastropub & Speakeasy for dinner and a little entertainment.

There was a band there named "Blink" that played a smooth sort of traditional mainstream jazz that provides easy listening. 

This guy playing the Xylophone was pretty awesome, using two mallets in each hand and flailing about like a mad-man. Without the actual sound you would think he was just aimlessly banging around on the keys, but make no mistake, the dude can play.

The gentleman playing the upright bass was working it out with this classic instrument. I caught him here during one of his solos. This image was processed with Topaz Impressions, giving it a soft, painterly feel. 

Typical of club settings, lighting can be a challenge, particularly if you're not using a flash. I hadn't planned to actually photograph the band and my flash unit was locked away in the vehicle so I boosted the ISO on the D7100 to 4000 and grabbed the hand-held shot below.

The red lighting was far too much for me so a black and white conversion was definitely in order.

Like the shot of The Bassist, above, I wanted to give this image a bit of an artistic look as well so I again turned to Topaz Impressions and added a bit of a smudged look which tamed the overall image down to a softer look.

The band packed up and headed out soon after these shots, and so did we after dinner. It was back to the snowy trail where the roads were down to a single lane in some places. Nevertheless, it was a great trip and yet another memorable time to reflect upon.

Thanks for stopping by!