Light It Up

From the Boston Tea Party to "the T" (America's first subway), most of the Hub's history is well documented. But here's a generally overlooked gem for Boston history buffs: opened in 1882 in Downtown Crossing, the Bijou Theatre was the first American theater to have an electric lighting system, blazing a trail for those sparkly marquees of Broadway to follow. The original is long gone, but now a few blocks away, the lights are about to go up on a new Bijou (51 Stuart Street, Boston), named in tribute to the theater and slated to open in late September in the former Europa/Buzz space. Bijou (French for "jewel") should attract the local glitterati as a multifaceted 9,000-square-foot nightspot: upon entering through an ivy-covered castle door, guests will first find a restaurant, dubbed "The Parlour," serving plates from executive chef Michael Navarrete (of Newbury Street's Cafeteria). Think utensil-free fare and sharable offerings, priced under $20, amid a honeycomb aesthetic of gold-toned curtains, mirrored columns, and cozy banquettes. Though that floor will have space for a live DJ, the party pumps harder upstairs in "The Dream," a clubbier area with a raised DJ deck, lounge-style seating, and a more intimate adjacent space called "The Dark Bar," which sounds like a perfect place to canoodle over cocktails. And like its theater namesake, this Bijou can boast a "first" status: it's the only club in North America outfitted with a super-high-end JBL Dance 5 sound system. Bijou will be open from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. every night but Monday and have an entertainment license for live music, so it should sparkle with after-work crowds and night owls alike.