THIS STORY STARTS, as most of ours do, at the Cha Cha Lounge. A former employee of the Crocodile who was drinking at our table began spinning the yarn of an extravagant downstairs dressing room that's only been used for Pearl Jam and Rocket from the Crypt. The visible band area adjacent to the stage at the Crocodile is small and narrow, and between a band and all of their gear, the effect is that of 50 clowns climbing out of a tiny circus car. But if there were indeed a downstairs... well, that would be a different story. The former employee explained that he used to have to clean the room out after it was used by rock stars. Furthermore, he said, he had been given the task of keeping it stocked with green candies: green M&M's, green Skittles, green Tic Tacs, green apple Blow Pops.

A few nights later I am at the Crocodile. Death Cab for Cutie bassist Nick Harmer and I are chatting and I mention the myth of the secret dressing room. He looks nervous for a minute, shifts his eyes left and right, then tells me to follow him.

We go through the door next to the stage, and Nick somehow MacGyvers the bench cushion and lifts it to reveal a staircase leading down. We descend into what is, sure enough, a secret, luxurious underground dressing room that runs the entire length of the cafe. The walls and floor are painted in the faux-crocodile diamond pattern of the Croc's outdoor sign, and the ceiling -- no joke -- is mirrored. Light- and dark-green velvet couches and chairs dot the room haphazardly, and lounging on them are the other members of Death Cab for Cutie, sipping grasshoppers. There's a live video feed to the upstairs, and they're watching Ruston Mire's set on a wide-screen television. Nick leads me over to the carved stone fountain in the middle of the room in which bottles of -- get this! -- pink champagne are chilling, and pours me a drink. The rest of the evening, I'm afraid, will have to be left to your imagination.

I asked Christine Wood, who books the Crocodile, about the secret room, and she admitted that it's been a well-kept secret for several years now. "But for the record, we discourage any hookers and/or cocaine in that room," she stated.