1151 Folsom ~ WEBSITE ~ (415) 431-1151

Saturday 31 January 2009

Tentatively: whenever they open Saturday 17 May 2008

Prologue:  Look, I’ve been trying to get the lowdown on this place all week.  I’ve sent 2 e-mails.  I’m calling them Friday night to see what the deal is on Saturday.  I may need to actually swing by and get the details.  There’s something called “Mandonna” which I think is either a Madonna drag show — which would be fabulous — or a few hours of nothing but Madonna songs — which would also not suck.  I just need to find out when it starts and if there’s a cover, so I can let you know.  Check back on Saturday (afternoon, please, I’m going to need to sleep in after singlehandely saving the Sazerac, I’m sure you understand).

I was there, I swear.  Totally according to plan.  And the — get this — the doorman talked me out of it.  He said there was a $12.00 cover that there was no way around, and that if I came back the next weekend, I could get in for free and he would buy me my first drink.  Just then, I got word that “The Wizard of Oz” was playing in Dolores Park, from a guy offering to take me there on a motorcycle.  Honestly, can you blame me for postponing the Official Visit to Eight Lounge under those kind of irresistible circumstances?

Third time’s a charm, and this time, nothing is going to stop me.  (Stop smirking!)

Afterword: It all started when I got an e-mail from Big Easy, inquiring as to the status of this project.  I admitted to having gotten derailed by an unimpressive stretch of the alphabet, and resolved to rectify the situation in short order.   In a post titled “E = Enough Already”, I — somewhat unenthusiastically — alerted anyone interested to “save the date”:

As in: enough procrastinating on this project.

To be fair, E is a lousy letter for Bars in The Book.  So I’m just going to get it over with on Saturday 31 January 2009.

More details to follow, but anyone who knows how this ridiculous blog works will be able to ascertain pretty well that getting the E’s over with at last shows little promise in the actual merriment department.  But The Hostess knew this fool’s errand wasn’t going to be all fun and games when she started, and so the prospect of an unenchanting evening is no reason to quit now.

Worst case scenario: I drink 3 shots of tequila in 3 Bars by myself.  Worse Worst case scenario: I drink 2 shots of tequila in 2 Bars by myself and am murdered by a drunken bunch of migrant workers when I walk in the door of the third Bar.  (Which will really suck, because if I don’t get to drink there, it won’t even count as an Official Visit.)

I’m not going to beg you to come (unless you are a burly, gay Mexican who wants to make some extra cash being my bodyguard/driver/photographer), but think how sad (guilty) you’ll feel when you hear about my grisly demise through the grapevine if you don’t.

By the next day, I had all the dealt with the details, and the schedule for that Saturday’s “Spree Through the E’s” was posted under “E is for Expectations”:

One thing The Hostess has learned about expectations — from going to the first 39 Bars in The Book (and from having a chauffeur) — is that the lower one’s expectations are, the better are one’s expectations of being pleasantly surprised. (If you think this sounds like some kind of Zen Buddhist koan mumbo-jumbo, then you’re right. Remember, this year’s motto is “More Divine in ’09”.)

With this in mind, on 31 Saturday January 2009, Saturday’s “Spree Through the E’s” (as it will henceforth be ever-known) will proceed as follows:

9:30pm: Eight Lounge — I am pleased to report that I have (semi-)secured a suitable escort to this establishment (Rocks before Cocks” — whew!) There is some sort of live music show starting at either 10:00 (according to the performer’s web site) or 10:30 (according to the club’s web site), but I don’t really care, because, while I don’t mind paying the nominal $5 cover for my Elegant Escort and I, it would truly surprise me if I were to remain here for more than an hour. I will be sipping a shot of tequila, whilst I survey the premises for your edification, before proceeding to…

Now, I had reason to believe that Big Easy and Dottie P. were going to join me at some point in the proceedings.  (I wasn’t even ruling out an appearance of the famously reclusive Dr. Black.)  And I had the lean and luscious Kevin Banks to get me in and out of Eight. But you cannot imagine my surprise when, as Kevin Banks and I set out to stroll down the block, we had a positive passel of new Barflies with us.  Somehow, while waiting for the appointed hour, the redoubtable Jessica Rabbit had enlisted the lovely Holly-Anne, the best-Barfly-named-to-date Hooker Bait, and the seriously Salawesome to eagerly experience the Spree Through the E’s with Kevin Banks and I…

I”m not sure what Big Easy thought when he saw me saunter into Eight surrounded by such a crowd, but I will not soon forget the thrill I got when he whispered “Grenadine” in my ear.  I knew then and there that E was going to be for Epic, and that the great social experiment that is Bars By The Book was not going to disappoint.

As for Eight…it’s a lot smaller than I thought it would be. There’s three distinct spaces on the ground floor (rooftop patio was not open for our inspection, alas).  Front bar (with hooks), middle space (with makeshift stage and a lot of mirrors), and back bar (with a couple of booths and those crazy laser-projected dots on the ceiling).  It’s very dark, on account of there being no windows and the entire premises being painted black. They have $9.00 tequila and $4.00 tequila (of which The Hostess recommends the former).  Big Easy had the following issue with his $9.00 margarita:

Eight: The bartender made my margarita with Rose’s Lime Juice – WTF? The smoking patio pretty much made up for it, though – a narrow passageway between two buildings, with stylized palm trees!

…and he is completely correct about the smoking patio, which is, as far as The Hostess is concerned, Eight’s best feature. (Although, crammed full of smokers, it could definitely totally suck).

Then again, I have not experienced the rooftop garden at Eight, which, for all I know, could really redeem the place. There are, however, more than one other rooftops in the immediate vicinity, should you find yourself in the environs with a rooftop jones. But if you are gay and Asian, by all means give Eight a chance.

My own favorite part about Eight was after we left and Holly-Anne showed her true colors as a fantastic photographer.  She realized that if we clambered (a word that does not get used enough, frankly) into the back of the  pickup parked in front of Eight, that she could get the Bar’s sign in the shot.  I seem to recall her actually sitting in the street to accomplish this photographic feat.  The rest of the evening proceeded to get hazy, but I do distinctly remember thinking, as Big Easy helped me gracefully out of whoever’s pickup truck that was,  that Holly-Anne was my kind of girl.