Best Rock Club - 2003
Readers' Choice: The Pageant
The appeal of the Rocket Bar can be summed up in six little words: "That is a damn high stage." And it's cramped, too. When Trans Am played in the spring, there was barely enough room for them to hand off instruments to one another, and there are only three dudes in Trans Am. This is the Rocket Bar's secret weapon, this wee little stage that fills the back corner of the room, which is itself up a flight of a half-dozen stairs: Every band assumes rock-god stature when its members are perched five feet over the audience's heads, especially when the room is just an average-size club. Still, there can be no Townshendian windmills, no Pollardesque karate kicks, no Vedderistic scenery chewing on the Rocket Bar stage. Bands must fall back on their music to entertain, and when you're pressed against the edge of the stage while a guitar amp is dermabrading your face with 200 watts of squall, you're either highly entertained or severely concussed by the end of the night. (Which, for the rock crowd, is really the same thing.) Add to this a well-stocked bar and a nifty little space-themed mosaic in the front walkway, and you have all the necessary ingredients for an evening of brain damage, bonhomie and ball-busting rock.