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The City of Gold

The lights dim as the singer steps onto the stage, her elegant hair done up in a haircut that was derisively called a Bubikopf back when it was à la mode. The jazz musicians on her right lay down a gentle, yearning beat. Service staff dressed in flapper costumes and stiff-looking suits circulate through the crowd as her honeyed voice goes from her period-accurate microphone to Art Deco tablecloth-laden tables around the palatial interior. You blinked upon entering and seemingly time-travelled to the Roaring Twenties.   Behind the stage's elaborate golden curtain, the singer's makeup artist begins to pack up her kit. Don't look too closely at the fact that some of its pigments aren't strictly from this world. Don't look up either; the short people manipulating the stage lights and effects aren't exactly human. And especially don't let your eyes wander too often to the bouncers, either, or you might get thrown out with the kind of strength that you'd call superhuman.   At the City of Gold, even being an ordinary pub is a masquerade.
It would be easy to disregard the City of Gold as yet another themed pub. Most do, as a matter of fact; it rarely appears on guidebooks to Weimar, Germany, nor on pub-crawling tourist blogs. But for a very specific clientele among the city's younger mages, it is the place to be. All they have to do is put on a show for any mundane person who walks in.  

Born of Desperation and Discontent

Fifteen years ago, Juli Wieber went through the Change on the floor of a dive bar in the city center. While one of her friends thankfully prevented her from dying and supported her through her complicated recovery, Juli had nothing but trouble from the Seven and grew fed up with them. Striking out, she bought up the bar when the owner passed away a few months afterwards and, inspired by the "Weimar spirit," stamped her Art Deco mark on the previously-plain edifice. The bar quickly attracted many like-minded outcasts, and it was no surprise that Juli became the central figure of the growing anti-Seven counterculture of the city.  

All That Glitters...

City of Gold makes sure that it shines every night, a fact that they know riles up the Seven mages of the city. From the moment that patrons pass underneath the bright yellow flashing neon sign, every item screams decadence. Every surface is covered in some lavish celebration of the 1920's. Reproductions of collages by Hannah Höch and "New Woman" magazine clippings from Vogue decorate the walls. Even the bar trays and martini glasses are carefully-sourced and period-accurate. You would be forgiven for thinking that the place is over-the-top...that's exactly the point.  
  Regulars often take the upper floor gallery booths with a perfect view of the entertainment on the stage below. Those inclined to dancing - often the Charleston, which the staff know well and teach to anyone who wants to learn - often crowd close to the stage, pushing past the scattering of circular tables. The few people who are simply there for a drink and some simple food with friends usually take the booths close to the lower level's walls.  

...Will Cover the Secrets

Juli bought up the whole building, including the two stories of apartments above the bar. The apartments are filled with mages who've fled from persecution for various reasons or those who need somewhere to stay while they get a handle on their new-found abilities. A handful of them get employment in the bar, using Illusion magic to hide their appearances or Health magic to increase their strength when a brawl inevitably breaks out or a demon follows one of them back to the pub. In all, about two dozen mages live and work in the building, its own mini-Sanctuary.   The bar's back rooms often host various illicit groups that see the Seven as yet another agent of oppression. Juli, under the name of the Weimar Society for Magical Liberation, bankrolls many of them using the bar's profits, a fact that infuriates many of the more conservative magical elements of the city. But seeing as Juli and the pub's patrons are still in compliance with the Terra Doctrine, they reasonably can't do anything about it.
German Name
Stadt von Gold
Pronunciation
shtat fawn golt
Type
Pub / Tavern / Restaurant
Parent Location
Owner
Additional Rulers/Owners

In Capable Hands

Juli Wieber's involvement hardly ended after the purchase of the pub building. She keeps herself busy by dealing with the organization of much of Weimar's mage community, particularly among youth. It's rare that these various groups meet without her; the rest are almost certainly in the Seven's hands. Because she's not in the pub on a regular basis, Jerôme Pillier and Jan Dvorak usually handle day-to-day issues.  

City of the Republic

Being located in Weimar, the Roaring Twenties motif has an extra edge. Weimar was the birthplace of German democracy in the interwar period. Even the country's government is often known as the Weimarer Republik until the Great Depression and fanatical fascism put an end to its liberal experimentation. It's no surprise then that the Weimar spirit is used by the pub's staff to attract the city's minorities...in this case, its mages. The name itself is a callback to the well-known jazz club Eldorado in Berlin that often catered to the city's LGBTQ+ community.
I was passing through Weimar on my way up to Berlin from Vienna, and I found this cute little bar near the downtown core. Nothing but the best service and amazing music. I was this close from dancing the Charleston!
— 5-star review on Yelp from an American tourist
 
The whole place just stinks of kitsch. You walk in and you're immediately attacked by the sound of wailing trumpets and the smell of cheap alcohol. This place is everything wrong with society today and everyone who thinks that the 20's were all rainbows and shooting stars.
— 3-star review on Yelp from a German local (translated)
All images in this article were created by me, EmperorCharlesII, unless otherwise credited.

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Comments

Author's Notes

For those wanting a cultural background on the period of Weimar Republic Germany, I consulted Eric Weitz's Weimar Germany: Promise and Tragedy, which also has a whole section of a chapter dedicated to the nightlife of 1920's Berlin.


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25 Mar, 2022 16:53

Oooooo this one is so cool! I love the style you selected for the "theme" of the bar--the glitz and glamor of the 20's meshes well with the spells and 'glamours' of the illusions the outcast mages spin up. It also meshes right in with the way you've used it as a way to get under The Seven's skin: just as rebellious as the original speakeasy. :D A sanctuary and house of those they can't stand, operating right under their noses! Nicely done! :)


You are doing a great job! Keep creating; I believe in you!
Luridity: Where love is love and life is lived. Contains NSFW content.
26 Mar, 2022 01:59

Kitsch sounds perfect to me. Stick it to the man! Outcasts unite sounds good to me, there is strength in numbers.


Too low they build who build beneath the stars - Edward Young
28 Mar, 2022 02:42

I really love the hand drawned artwork that you used and overall this article was good. love the good use of quotes on the sidebar!. And how you used history as well for it. Very well done!

30 Mar, 2022 18:50

I'm a fan of the 20's not gonna lie, so this instantly sparked my interest. The fact that it is also a hide out for persecuted mages made it even better, I also like a good rebel cause. The contrasting reviews were a good shout as well, they add depth and a spark of humour.

4 Jul, 2022 14:10

I'm particularly fond of the musical Cabaret (and Christopher Isherwood's The Berlin Stories), and this appropriately feels in a similar vein. I love the little touches--the description at the beginning, the Yelp reviews, etc. (Also, I like your Earth header!)

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