Local supper club and moonshine bar Lex 18 is already known for its vintage atmosphere and thematic banquet dinners — often celebrating the jazz age and Prohibition era to which its Lexington Avenue building dates. But this spring the venue looks further back in time for a medieval-themed Feast of Thrones every Sunday evening from April 24 to June 26.
“Game of Thrones,” the HBO fantasy series based on the writings of George R.R. Martin, is the inspiration for this run of Sunday dinner shows. The program consists of complex political intrigues, evil knights, brave queens and three terrifying dragons.
At Lex 18, the gilded walls will be hung with banners featuring the house sigils of all the powerful lords and ladies of Westeros (the setting of “Game of Thrones”). The Lannister lion, the triple-headed dragon of House Targaryen and the Stark dire wolf share equal positions, signifying the truce that has been called within House Lexington. Allies and bitter enemies will break bread together in harmony — and take in a screening of each week’s new episode. Guests are asked to attend in costume and encouraged to play along.
“Most of this, from a performance base, is really about letting people come up with their own cosplay experience,” says Lex 18 owner Georgia Malki. “People want context and content, and then they want to act out. They want to either be passive and watch, or be an extrovert and be Jon Snow, or one of the Starks, or whomever. We just give them enough texture points and context to have fun.”
To achieve the setting, furnishings are draped in furs. There’s a golden throne and platters of food served in a candlelight hall. Lutist Lenny Pettinelli and vocalist David Boyd will sing madrigals while a cast of characters in full regalia recites sonnets and perform small bits of theater.
Local artists and designers are getting involved in the fantasy as well. Accessory and clothing designers Organic Armor and Royal Peasantry, among others, will have fantasy-themed merchandise available for sale during the events. “We asked [local artists] here in Asheville to showcase some of their beautiful work because we think it adds wonderful texture to what people can do to make cosplay easy,” says Malki. “Put on a headdress, and you’re done!” She adds that there will be costumes available for anyone who arrives unprepared, and guests not in costume should wear simple black or brown attire, with no visible logos.
If the dress code is established to encourage immersion in the medieval world, so is the bill of fare. Each evening will begin with a reception including “Thrones”-themed cocktails like the “North Wall,” the “Night Watch” and “Westeros Redeemed.” Ale and wine will be served in pewter tankards and goblets. A three-course meal based on feasts described in Martin’s books will be served, with black sausages, salmon fragranced with lemon, honey and herbs, red and black quinoa, and a medieval fruit tart making the menu.
Due to limited space, the feast will be served “family camaraderie style,” with great wooden bowls in the center of each table from which guests will be able to fill their plates. Each weekend’s Feast of Thrones will host a maximum of 30 guests, to assure everyone has elbow room and a good view for the show.
“The viewing is the best part,” says Malki, “because you’re seeing it in your own intimate theater, as if you’re in a different world.”
WHAT: A Feast of Thrones Fantasy Costume Dinner
WHERE: Lex 18, 18 N. Lexington Ave., lex18avl.com
WHEN: Sundays, April 24-June 26, at $44 per person most shows/$60 per person for final event