For one thing, there’s the menu, an idiosyncratic mix of comfort foods and fancy international cuisine. On a recent visit, the crab cakes were delightfully mushy and had real crabmeat in ’em, and the cheese and fruit tray – at other places often just a begrudging concession to vegetarians and other pinko-commie bastards – was huge and had cubes of green-striped cheese that was salty and spicy and absolutely rocked. The music was OK, and the crowd, though lightly sprinkled with young hotties, was mostly middle-aged. There were a lot of fortysomethings yell-talking to one another at the bar or out on the spacious dance-floor doing that spin-dancing thing that old folks do. Oops – I meant “middle-aged” folks! Hahaha! (For the record, I’m just a couple of years away. But, as they say, “40 is the new 30” … or something … whatever.) Lastly, the vibe transcends the “Room” part. A room, like a rec room or the Wreck Room (or the Romper Room), connotes, to me, a space with no rules and hardly any furniture. Every time I hear the word, I imagine a huge box, with people in headgear bouncing off white rubber walls. The Main Street Blues Room, though, is exquisitely appointed, with a lot of shiny black curves and edges, and the patio is intimate, or as intimate as a patio can be – it’s mostly blocked off from Main Street and the seemingly ceaseless parade of speeding cars. The outdoor space, however, isn’t entirely furnished for getting crazy. The tables and benches are concrete. Heavy concrete. The likely explanation for the “Room” is that the place was once a cabinet shop whose exterior is almost completely made of tin, from the walls to the roof, gray-silver all around. Though about a year old, the joint seems to be thriving. Not bad for a “room” where “blues” musicians play on “Main Street” in a bedroom community. Visit MainStreetBluesRoom.com. … Speaking of the blues, James Hinkle’s got ’em, and he’s happy (or at least he should be). Hinkle’s latest album, Blues Now, Jazz Later, has a big fan in Elwood Blues, host of the House of Blues Radio Hour and namesake of the character made famous by Dan Aykroyd in the 1980 flick The Blues Brothers. The c.d. is getting some spinnage on the web radio program and is featured on its web site, TheBluesMobile.com. Next to a photo of the c.d. cover and a couple of links that let you listen to the featured track, “Track You Down,” or purchase the disc, is a little write-up, presumably penned by Elwood himself: “James Hinkle learned to play guitar in the dives of Fort Worth, Texas, picking up on rock, blues, country, cajun, and Tex-Mex. He calls his style ‘Eclex-Tex.’ Mmmm, nice.” In case you’re wondering, we were one of the first wonks to rave about BNJL (“Song of the City,” Jan. 24). Visit JamesHinkle.com.
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