Edgar Allan Poe: Speakeasy to honor poet's work in Baltimore
As if Edgar Allan Poe needed a deeper footprint in Baltimore, a pop-up speakeasy is dedicating pours and performances to his legacy for a long weekend.
Fans and those willing to drink the Poe Kool-Aid (or cocktails in this case) for a night are invited to the Edgar Allan Poe Speakeasy for themed drinks and historians that’ll pay homage to the author. The ticketed event includes performances, storytelling and four cocktails that pair with the author’s work: “Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Raven,” “Masque of Red Death” and “The Black Cat.”
And the cocktails are impressively appropriate Poe pours. They include Pale Blue Eye, Cocktail of Red Death, Edgar’s Twisted Brandy Milk Punch and The Raventini. If the origins of the cocktail names are puzzling, ask your nearest Poe fan to explain further. The Raventini, likely to resonate deeply with Baltimore peeps, includes citrus vodka, blackberry liquor, lime juice and secret spices.
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Rock Star Beer Productions, a production company that puts on shows and festivals across the U.S., is debuting the Poe speakeasy experience in Baltimore, Aug. 31 through Sept. 2. Like any good story or event, it’s all about location. The production chose Chase Court, an intimate venue often used for wedding ceremonies and receptions. The space will be decorated to accentuate the venue’s gothic stone castle, arched walkways and windows.
Chase Court is less than two miles from Poe’s gravesite at Westminster Hall and Burial Ground on West Fayette Street. For years, the “Poe Toaster” left roses and cognac on the gravesite and never revealed their identity. It’s almost as mysterious as Poe’s last days when he was found delirious before he died in a Baltimore hospital.
The show writer for this weekend’s event, Julia Tirinnanzi, said it took her a while to comb through Poe’s work to create the production, but she’s confident the selection of stories and poems parallel with the history of his life. The “Poe-formers” and “Poe-storians” will be there to guide the audience along the way. Baltimore attendees can also expect to get a bit more historical attention because of Poe’s ties to Charm City. But Baltimore can’t take credit for being his only home. He has connections to Boston (where he was born), Virginia and Philadelphia, too.
The Raventini will be one of four cocktails served at a pop-up Edgar Allan Poe experience. It's made with citrus vodka, blackberry liquor, lime juice, and secret spices. (Courtesy: Rock Star Beer Festivals)
People are encouraged to wear cocktail attire and outfits that best fit the theme. Tirinnanzi said people came to past Poe performances in other states dressed in elaborate Victorian clothes. Some even sported raven or Poe costumes. Followers and fans of the author are known to flock to events that center his work.
In Baltimore, the PoeFest happens annually in October next to the Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum and includes merchandise, Poe beer, performances and even a Poe impersonator.
Tickets for this weekend’s pop-up cost $55 and include the performances and cocktails inside the venue. Alcohol-free cocktails and substitutions for allergies are available upon request. The production is providing several showtimes during Labor Day weekend, but space is very limited.
If you don’t get a chance to fill up on all things Poe this go-around, there are plans to bring it back next year. Tirinnanzi said she hopes people connect with Poe’s work, which many probably learned about in middle school and high school, but never revisited.
“In the day and age of digital entertainment, it’s kind of cool to go back to the roots of old-fashion literature that’s really well done,” she said.