The late-night night dance parties at The Admiral restaurant in West Asheville will stop at the end of the year. It’s the end of one of Asheville’s most beloved late-night dance traditions.
The dance parties at the Admiral started up in 2007, about the same time that West Asheville’s comeback started and the city’s food scene began to get wider recognition. The dance parties added some after-midnight flavor to the gastrodive, a lauded restaurant that helped put Asheville’s food scene on the foodie map.
Once 11 p.m. rolled around on Friday and Saturday nights, employees moved the tables and chairs out of the small dining area. At first it was local musician Greg Cartwright, and then Cartwright and DJ Whitney Shroyer, and then just Shroyer, spinning obscure funk, soul, rockabilly, garage, R&B and rock ‘n roll vinyl records. They were mostly 45s, and dancing fans loved it.
Folks would line up outside The Admiral and wait patiently to pay the $2 cover to get in. They might snack on a Jeremy Hardcastle hot dog before, during or after. They would drink their PBRs and their whiskey drinks. And they danced. They writhed. They shimmied and spun. They danced until the wee hours.
Dance parties at the Admiral, we’ll miss you.
Shroyer wrote a sweet note over at Admiral Dance Parties. Here it is, in case you missed it:
As the Admiral Dance Parties come to their close at the end of December, I’m probably going to post some maudlin memories and such on this page.
This is Thanksgiving week and there is nothing I’m more thankful for than having gotten to play at the Admiral every Saturday night for the last nine years. So thanks to all of the staff who put up with the volume, the darkness, the craziness and the rowdiness for years and years. Bartenders, bar backs, door guys – I still don’t know why you indulged and coddled me in my insanity for almost a decade.
To every DJ who ever filled in for me or sat in with me, thanks a million. You saved my ass, helped me make a little more money, gave me a tune or two to steal, or just bore witness to my incredibly good DJ fortune. Hope I get to sit in with you some day.
To the dinner staff that always scooted people out of my way so I could set up the gear, made me coffee, and stayed after sometimes to get crazy – thanks. And of course the kitchen staff throughout the years because no one would care about the Admiral were it not for the unbelievably good food.
And thanks to Drew and Jonathan for keeping it going for so long, including some other times when the writing was probably on the wall. You guys and your space made a weird dude’s dream come true for a long, long time.
And thanks to Greg Cartwright for inviting me to start DJ’ing with him at the Admiral on Saturdays nine years ago, and for standing at TT1 for four or five years (?) while I held down TT2. Couldn’t ask for a more simpatico DJ partner.
And of course all of you who danced at the Admiral. Thanks to you most of all.
There will be other dance parties, Asheville, and I hope you let me lead a few of them, but let’s get out there over the next month and be grateful for the little miracle that was Saturday Night at the Admiral.
Correction: The Admiral dance parties were held Friday and Saturday nights. An earlier version of the story failed to mention both.