Booze and stairs have never gone well together, but add in a hypnotic carpet pattern and you've got yourself some trouble. The steep, long staircase leading to the "dance" part of Empire Dine and Dance has been dubbed "the purple vortex" for its dizzying, vertiginous qualities. This dark purple carpet lit with mesmerizing yellow starbursts cascading down the long stairwell can be an intimidating prospect, beer goggles on or not.
Plus, it's hard to make just one trip. Because Empire doesn't have an upstairs bathroom, music-goers must descend into the purple vortex every time a visit to the restroom is required. With each trip, the handrail becomes a growing necessity against the spellbinding trance of the stairs. It's almost enough reason to ease up on the alcohol intake, but then again, that would really diminish the challenge.
On a few occasions, when the music was particularly good, I've heard tipsy women yell from the top of the staircase to the bouncers below to prepare themselves for a heroic catch. The bouncers seem gracious enough that they would at least open the exit door at the bottom of the stairs to allow a test-failer to tumble out onto Congress Street in spectacular fashion.
Empire Dine and Dance | 575 Congress St, Portland | 207.879.8988 | portlandempire.com