Last night Nashua’s new speakeasy bar, Codex, opened it’s doors (or rather, its secret panel) and I stopped by for a quick peek to check it out. I don’t want to spoil the fun of Codex, there are so many neat details creating the prohibition ambiance, and they’re fun to discover on your own. This is just a gist of the bar. Some things are best left experienced!
Where: Codex, 112 West Pearl Street, Nashua, NH
While the storefront looks like a bookstore, a secret panel swoops open to a retro, glam bar with creative cocktails and vintage decor. Speakeasies during prohibition (1920-1933) required a password to enter, but don’t worry, you won’t need a password for Codex. If it’s busy inside Codex uses an app that will text you when your table is ready. (Perfect from keeping any lines from drawing attention to the hush-hush establishment, but also wonderful for the winter crowds.) While dressing to the theme is encouraged, it’s by no means mandatory, so don’t worry about a dress code.
I had to wait a few minutes for my classic cocktail, but once my Pink Lady arrived I understood why. First, a fresh citrus aroma wafted from the foamy, egg white top. It was a rich, creamy, but not too sweet cocktail served in a demure cocktail glass. It reminded me that just like food, there’s a real science and art to mixing the perfect cocktail. Beer is served in hefty glasses with detailing – a touch that adds to the vintage feel. I didn’t get to try any of the apps, small plates or desserts like jello and root beer floats, from their food menu this time around. If you have, let me know how it is in the comments below!
A keyboardist by the door added to the 20’s atmosphere by playing upbeat, ragtime melodies. You’ll remember from my Gate City Brewfest post here, my biggest turn off at bars or events is music that’s so loud you can’t hold a conversation. The music here manages to jazz up the space without inspiring people to dance on table tops, flapper style.
The bar seems best suited for large groups, one room is almost exclusively lounge areas for large parties with semi-private sections. The smaller room with the bar also has some tables, but a hostess will seat you, so don’t worry about finding a spot yourself. I loved the murals of writers painted on the wall, including a soon to be finished Robert Frost one (he loved NH, check out my piece about his Derry farm here) and the vintage style furniture. It looks cozy and elegant.
Between the old mill buildings and historic monuments, Codex fits right into Nashua’s downtown area. In fact, the very building that houses Codex was once a bootlegger (spot? distillery?) on the second floor, according to one of it’s owners. It’s a glam spot with delicious drinks and a unique vibe that adds some much need jazz to Nashua.