Past the frame of Copper Gate’s 66-year-old front door and behind its Viking-ship-shaped bar, a mixologist is busy flavoring glasses of aquavit. Overhead, scantily clad ladies survey the scene, frozen in salacious poses snapped decades ago. Nordic and pinup cultures co-exist in equal measure at Copper Gate, where servers deliver meatballs and pickled herring amid boudoir paintings and trinkets from the 40s, 50s, and 60s. A menu of innovative cocktails confounds the tongue only as far as pronunciation goes. Once the cucumber, aquavit, and lemon of a Stor Agurk hit taste receptors, everyday worries dissolve away like a slug on a horse’s salt lick.
Copper Gate first opened in 1946, and its current owners are marking this year’s 66th anniversary with a month-long celebration throughout October. Most live shows are free during the anniversary month, including no-cover jazz events and a birthday tribute to legendary jazz pianist and amateur fire-eater Thelonious Monk. Other events include monthly comedy and open mic nights, as well as service industry night every Monday.