Raging at Upstairs on the Square

Dance the Night Away at Upstairs on the Square
Rebecca F. Elliott and Kathryn C. Ryan

Last Thursday, couples boogied on the dance floor to a jazz adaptation of Katy Perry’s “California Gurls” at a restaurant decorated with Rococo-inspired glass chandeliers. The scene was September’s dinner-dance at Upstairs on the Square. One Thursday every month at 9 p.m., the Bo and Bill Winiker Orchestra performs everything from Nat King Cole to the Black Eyed Peas for restaurant-goers.

The Winiker band has been playing at Upstairs on the Square for over three years, ever since Bo Winiker came to the restaurant and fell in love with the place. “It’s just like walking into ‘Alice in Wonderland,’” Bo Winiker said of Upstairs on the Square.

At any given point during the evening, a handful of couples could be seen gliding arm-in-arm across the restaurant’s red floors, spinning past the bar and fellow diners. While most of the dancers were in the older age range, there were a couple of twenty-something-year-old couples, including one that recently got engaged. “I was about 16 when my parents started bringing me here,” said Michelle M. Hogle, the bride-to-be. “I love that they’ve made the time to have live music.”

On each dinner-dance night, the Winiker Orchestra’s music selection is slightly different. “We try to look out and see who’s in the restaurant and play music they grew up with,” explained Bill Winiker.

While many of Thursday’s customers showed up unaware that there would be live music and dancing, a few attend Upstairs’ dinner-dances religiously. “Dancing frees the soul, soothes the soul,” said Larry R. Smith, a dance-night regular. “Plus, it’s very good aerobic exercise.”

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Perhaps the most notable aspect of the event was its cheery, whimsical atmosphere. During one of the musical numbers, Jenny Cheng, a customer, leaned over and said with a smile, “I think I caught the chefs dancing in the kitchen.”

The next dance will take place on Oct. 28.

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