Beauty Bar Friday, Jun 22 2007 

2299 Mission ~ WEBSITE ~ (415) 285-0323

9:00pm Saturday 31 March 2007

Prologue: In keeping with my new paradigm of visiting Bars when they are likely to be “happening”, I am moseying back to the Mission to check out Beauty Bar when the manager, Shane, assured me the joint would be jumping, so to speak. I’ve had the two free drink tokens Shane gave me the night I met him at Arrow burning a hole in my coin purse all this time, and I feel like cutting loose and shaking my ass to some pfunky phresh beats, so let’s hope DJ Omar is up to snuff.

Shane said Saturdays at 10:00 pm are pretty popular, so I’m going to try and sneak in before things get too crazy. But, party animal that I am (ha-ha), I’m committed to staying at least until 10:30, and if I’m having a blast, I’ll be there even later. Shane also warned me that some thefts have occurred here, so don’t bring big purses and keep your wits about you — you’ve been warned!

Now, I’ve been to the Beauty Bar in L.A., and I have to tell you, I didn’t get the whole manicure gimmick. The L.A. location also did henna tattoos, which was fun, but no dice at the San Francisco spot. So I’m going there to dance, and to drink (although not necessarily in that order). But I will be happy to consult with you on nail polish hue selection, should you find yourself too tipsy to decide.

Afterword: OK, I still don’t get the manicure thing. I even saw someone having her nails done, and I was truly puzzled as to why. But I was on my second huge and 100% strong drink, so I didn’t actually care. (Sorry to report that I don’t even know how much the drink cost because the first round was free and Paladin was paying thereafter. I can tell you that it’s worth whatever they are charging because the alcohol is definitely not diluted.) It did strike me, though, that as long as they are going to have old-fashioned hair-drying chairs strewn about, they might as well offer blow-drying. I would totally pay to have someone else blow dry my hair because when I do it myself, I have to keep setting down my drink.

Anyway, Beauty Bar is the least place I am likely to have my nails done, but it is a pretty fun Bar. I timed my visit perfectly: I was there in time to snag a stool and right at 10:00, just like Shane said, there was a noticeable surge in the clientele, most of whom seemed to be in sizeable groups, and taking pictures of themselves with paparazzian panache (which makes it even more unbelieveable that Paladin and I forgot to get a picture of me in front with the sign!).

The doorman (says he) cards everyone, so you will feel young and cute from the get-go. Our bartender was Zak, who is pretty hot in a very heroin-chic sort of way. And Shari from Arrow was there, too — filling in on her night off, broken collar-bone notwithstanding (the girl’s dedication to bartending is really inspirational). And not only does Beauty Bar have hooks, it has hooks illuminated by strings of Christmas lights, which I think is a particularly nice touch. DJ Omar was doing his thing in the back, and doing it well, because no one was standing still (even before anyone got motivated to actually dance).

Paladin decided he needed to eat, and I think in retrospect, I should have joined him, but Jonny-Georgia and his sexy southern drawl showed up to distract me from the disastrous consequences of drinking on an empty stomach. What can I say? Dancing is more fun than eating. (To say nothing of dancing with Jonny-Georgia, ahem.) Never did find out how Beauty Bar feels about dogs, but I think dogs would be even more incongruous than the manicure stations (or people who try to eat there, judging from the looks Paladin and his burrito garnered).

Alas, I had to head to the Spectra Ball (which, as it turned out, I was already too tipsy to tolerate) so I made like Cinderella, only instead of losing a glass slipper I forgot to insist on a souvenir photo (all the more incomprehensible because there is a frickin’ photo booth inside the damn bar itself!). While the rest of the night is apparently destined to remain a bit of a blur, I’m happy to report that I do remember having a rockin’ good time at Beauty Bar. (And Shane, if you are reading this, if I could have had my hair blown dry at Beauty Bar, I would have had time to eat something before heading out of the house! How about it?)

Bathroom Biography:
I feel certain that I made a point of checking out the restroom situation. Only I can’t recall any details of the inspection. In fact, I can’t say for sure that I even ever did make it back there. But they have to have restrooms, right? Bottom line: why don’t you go and tell me?

Cafe Cocomo Bar Grill & Night Club Friday, Jun 22 2007 

650 Indiana ~ WEBSITE ~ (415) 824-6910

7:30 PM (or as close thereto as the #22 Fillmore will get you thereabouts) Wednesday 13 June 2007

Prologue: It’s official: I am going on an upcoming Wednesday — Wednesday June 13th, to be precise — for the salsa lessons, of course. (Wanda gave me some impromtu salsa lessons, once upon a time, but I’m way beyond rusty in the the department of swivelling my hips and moving my feet in a co-ordinated fashion, sad to say.) They also have them on Mondays, but even in Spanish, that doesn’t sound likely to be as happening as a Miercoles noche might be. I love their dress code! (Fail to note it at your own risk.)  My plan is to beg Jonny-Georgia to come learn to salsa with me. And if he takes me up on this offer, this is a sight you won’t want to miss, trust me — ahem.  I’ve actually been to Cafe Cocomo Bar & Grill Night Club before, as part of the far-less-entertaining than-it-sounds Mexican Bus trip. But I’m sure I’ll have more fun this time (especially if Jonny-Georgia is there — ahem) and I’d love it if you could join me.  Come on, don’t make me dance with a stranger — you know how I feel about people!  Now, if you’re coming, bring your dancing shoes, because one should not bother going to the #3-rated Salsa Club in the country if one is not going to dance, as far as The (admitedly somewhat opinionated) Hostess is concerned.  Oh, and anyone who cuts in on me and Jonny-Georgia (if he makes my fondest wish come true and decides to drop in) does so at the risk of some potentially serious bodily harm.  I’m just saying … and really, I saw him first!

Afterword: Let me begin by warning you that Cafe Cocomo Bar Grill & Night Club’s website is not as accurate as the scrupulously researched and meticulously proof-read one you are currently enjoying.  On the evening of the Official Visit, the doors did not open at 7:30 (more like 7:50) and the cover was not $7.00 (it was $8.00),  as advertised on the website.  I would suggest that you call them up to confirm hours, cover charges, etc. before you head there yourself, but they do not seem to answer the phone at Cafe Cocomo Bar Grill & Night Club, so this will probably not be as helpful as one might wish.

The good news is that it’s a little tricky to actually get to Cafe Cocomo Bar Grill & Night Club, so you might be running late, and your late arrival might co-incide nicely with their late unlocking of the gates.  Never mind the confusing lack of any sense of order in the way those “state streets” are laid out (I was thinking perhaps reverse alphabetical order, but no, that’s not it either), the 600-block of Indiana Street is one of those M.C. Escher-esque types that you can see from other surrounding streets, but any way to reach it remains perplexing for a lap or two and a few re-crossings of the 280 overpass.  (Or at least it does if you are me, and only have two maps, and are enjoying a balmy fog-free evening which means that there is sun in your eyes.)

If you go on a Wednesday night, once you manage to get yourself onto the proper block, parking will be no problem, as there is nothing else around but non-descript looking buildings.  I do wonder who decided to put a night club there, but perhaps feeling as if you have travelled to an exotic and far-off locale is what they were going for. 

So Wanda and I loitered around until they finally unlocked the chain link gates and let us in with barely enough time to order — much less consume —  a margarita before the salsa lessons were to begin.  Fortunately for us, the bartender was all ready to mix us up a couple (from scratch — of course — none of that nasty pre-mixed madness, thank goodness!).  His name was Ken (hi, Ken!) and I resolved to spend more quality time with him when I was done looking silly on the dance floor, which was one of the many things I was there to do, after all.

And look silly I did — as will you, should you decide “to bravely go”, etc. — but everyone else looks silly, too, so it doesn’t matter.  Learning to salsa dance in a group is one of those things which you will either think is fun and perhaps a little goofy, or you will hate (in which case you will probably not be learning to salsa dance in a group — now will you? — so not to worry).  It’s even easy — at least at first.  The instructor has everybody stand up and he shows you the basic steps, and you practice the hip-swivelling in time with the feet-moving thing, and then they turn on music, too, and pick up the pace a little, and just when you think you might be getting it, the instructors re-arrange you into a circle around them and instruct you to get a partner and put into practice what you have just learned, by which they mean: Dance — and probably with a stranger (especially if the person you invited specifically to avoid dancing with a stranger hasn’t shown up)!

Actually, even if the dance partner of your dreams is there, the instructors make everyone switch partners so that everyone gets to dance with everybody else.  This is good, because you might otherwise get stuck dancing for longer than you might like with any particular stranger.  But it is also not so good, because one thing about paired couple dancing is that at least one of you needs to have some sort of clue what you are doing, and when you are talking about a group of people taking basic salsa lessons, this means that a fair number of the opposite sex is going to have no clue, and therefore not be much help to you.

Unless you are a fabulous dancer like Wanda is, and then you can be the one with the clue (and the moves!) and you can help your partner.  If, however, you are more like me, you might find yourself gazing wistfully over your shoulder at your margarita, wishing you could sit down and have a sip or two before all the ice melts.  If you are on my page at this point, and really feel like you have gotten your $8.00 worth with the footwork part of the lesson, then when the instructors add fancy spins into the mix, you will definitely become entrenched in the “clueless” camp (if only in your own mind).

This is when having extra people on hand who know how to salsa would come in handy.  Alas, that night there was a shortage of males, clueless or otherwise, but that meant I finally could make it back to my lonely margarita while I waited for it to be the next hapless chap’s turn to have me demonstrate my cluelessness in his arms (which did not seem to be as bad as it sounds, judging from the various reactions to having to dance with me).

The funny thing was, it was still pretty fun.  I never got very good at putting all the swivelling and stepping and spinning together, but I did learn that all a girl really needs to do is follow the boy’s lead, and there were a couple of them there with enough of a clue that I got some in some pretty good spins.  Especially when I danced with the instructor, who refused to let me keep protesting that I wasn’t any good at the spinning part.  He basically did away with any trace of the lessons he had just taught us and spun me around so much I started thinking maybe he had spun me back into the ’70’s and I was in “Saturday Night Fever“, thereby confirming my theory that it only takes one person who has a clue to make two people look pretty spiffy on the dance floor (see also: “Dirty Dancing“).

I learned later, while chatting with Ken, that, completely contrary to what I had imagined (what else is new?), Monday nights are actually busier than Wednesdays.  It’s still not packed on lunes like on the weekends, Ken says, but more people than were there on that particular miercoles should statistically mean more males, which could translate into the potential for more Fun (and/or cluelessness, but whatever).  The place is pretty vast, by San Francisco Bar (and bar) standards, and I would definitely recommend it for group outings of any sort (unless it is a group of people too uptight to have fun learning how to salsa dance with a stranger or two, but why would you want to hang out with a group of those kinds of people?).  In point of fact, that age-old cliche “the more, the merrier” is one of Bars By The Book’s guiding principles (as long as “the more” is not excessive, and does not throw cigarette butts on the ground), so a place such as Cafe Cocomo Bar Grill & Night Club is a good one to have up one’s sleeve.

Now, I am aware that what you really want to know is what happened after Jonny-Georgia got there (which you know he did because this post has been tagged with his name since the morning after on account of the fact I knew I had to give you something to satisfy at least a scrap of your curiosity until I had time to write up this re-cap properly).  What happened was … it had been so long since I had laid eyes on Jonny-Georgia that I barely recognized him when he strolled in.

But once I got within dazzling distance of those dimples of his, there was no mistaking him for anyone else.  Since he had (purposely — the rascal!) missed the lesson portion of the evening, when we finally did dance it bore no resemblance whatsoever to salsa-ing, but I didn’t care because I will dance anytime, anyplace, anywhich way with Jonny-Georgia (in case you couldn’t tell).  Being the fine and generous friend that I am, I even urged Wanda to dance with him — which she somewhat mistifyingly declined to do.  Come to think of it, she may have had my above-mentioned comment about “bodily harm” in mind…

In any event, I was so distracted after Jonny-Georgia finally showed up that I forgot to check for hooks while he was buying me a margarita (maybe Ken can help me out on this, Ken?).  I couldn’t even take my eyes off him long enough to look for smoking refuse receptacles outside (but surely somewhere, on such a lovely patio, festively lit with twinkly lights winding around and amidst palm trees and all, there must be some kind of ashtrays, right?).  It’s a good thing newly adopted Bars By The Book protocol mandates that I take the Official Picture before the merriment commences or I probably would have forgotten that (again) too!

Being as I am not the sort of girl to kiss and tell (so to speak), you will have to ask Wanda what happened after we decided to call it a night and offered to give Jonny-Georgia a lift to somewhere he would have a prayer of catching a cab.  I won’t even ask her to refrain from divluging the details (such as any there may or may not be).  However I will tell you this much (since I have the otherwise inexplicable unphotogenic photographic evidence to prove it): Jonny-Georgia and I are much better in person.  For that matter, so is this whole Bars By The Book lark.  Believe it or not, even my captivating and witty prose does not completely convey the true nature of the Official Visits.  By which I mean that you should really join me — either for the first time or more often.  While I can’t guarantee how much fun you’ll have, I can bet you a drink that being there is at least as entertaining as reading about it, and definitely easier than salsa lessons!

Bathroom Biography:
Perhaps the proprietors of Cafe Cocomo Bar Grill & Night Club have gotten a little carried away with their whole “let’s make them think they are south of a lot more than than the Mission” aesthetic when it comes to the restrooms.  This might explain the basically disastrous condition in which I found the ladies’ room.  Otherwise, the management needs to schedule much more thorough and frequent cleanings, to say nothing of doing something about the garrish lighting.  Bottom line: be brave and go for it.  It’s not like there’s anywhere else you can go anywhere in the vicinity, and there’s a good chance you will take a wrong turn (or six) on the way home, so you shouldn’t count on being able to wait.  Just consider it part of the “exotic” atmosphere, and maybe tuck a travel-sized bottle of that hand sanitizer stuff in your purse.  And perhaps take some small comfort in knowing that at least this bathroom is not as bad as the one at Harrington’s Bar & Grill was on a recent un-offical visit, by which I mean it could be (and might yet again be) worse.

Catalyst Cocktails Wednesday, Dec 27 2006 

312 Harriet ~ WEBSITE ~ (415) 621-1722

7:00 pm (& as sooner as possible, and as later as I can last!) Tuesday 3 July 2007

Prolouge: Being located as it is amidst sundry bail bonds businesses, and disturbingly close to the Hall of (In)Justice, this post for Catalyst Cocktails seems like a good place to tell you about a gem of pure genius I heard about on “The Colbert Report” (aka “The Best Show on Television” since Lame-ass Moonves at CBS cancelled “Jericho” – bastard! nice try, Les; don’t mess with “Jericho” fans!). Remember, Bars By The Book is firmly opposed to drunk driving. However, The Hostess is no big fan of parking tickets. And she especially dislikes forgetting where she parked her car … (which is not exactly as unlikely at one might think; after all, a classic film has even been made about this selfsame quandry). San Francisco needs this service! Gavin? You want my vote? Make this happen Gel-boy…

OK, so even those of us with real jobs don’t have to work on The 4th of July, so there is no excuse to miss out on this kickoff to the “It Sucks That The 4th of July Is On A Wednesday This Year” festivities. As an added incentive, if you come to Catalyst Cocktails during my Official Visit AND if you are wearing red, white, and blue (this means all three, and yes, underwear counts — but you will have to prove it), I will buy you a drink. Of course, this offer applies to Barflies only — so sign-up now if you aren’t listed over there on the left yet …

cocktails.jpg Afterword: How do you like this patriotic image? This is for all of y’all who keep asking me why there aren’t pictures on this ridiculous blog. OK, it’s not a photograph, but it is something to look at, and I happened to be typing this update on the 4th of July, so this particular graphic is/was especially a propos, and I am a huge a propos proponent (an “a propoponent”?), in case you didn’t know.

The image is also a bit ironical here given that the first thing I noticed on my way into Catalyst Cocktails was a sign on the door announcing that the Bar was closing at 10:30 that night. I was understandably a bit dismayed about this, as I was fully intending to stay at Catalyst Cocktails for a lot longer than the three-and-a-half hours it appeared that I had left. But Matt the owner (hi, Matt!) and Ray the cook (hi, Ray!) were there, so at least I had some friendly folks to chat with. Even though I hadn’t been to Catalyst Cocktails in forever, Matt remembered how to make a Smoky Mirror, and Ray remembered my name, which was nice.

{Backstory ensues…} You see, Catalyst Cocktails has been my de facto favorite bar since Soluna fell so far from grace (see: Breezy’s). I loved it from the first moment I walked in, sometime back in either the fall or winter of 2005. Just because I haven’t been there in forever does not mean that I stopped thinking about what a lovely spot to spend time Catalyst Cocktails is. Au contraire! But right around the same time that I discovered it, so did these nutjobs. Yes, precisely the same sort of folks who derailed Soluna, my old favorite bar, have been hanging out at my new favorite bar on a regular basis. The prospect of losing another favorite bar to these cult members has always worried me, so I suppose I have kept Catalyst Cocktails at arm’s length, so to speak. You know, just so I can pretend not to be devastated if history repeats itself, and all.

It gives me great pleasure to report that no one has ruined Catalyst Cocktails (at least not yet). It is still a charming and delightful Bar. It’s stylish (I say Art Deco, Paladin says 1950’s Modern — he is so contrary!) in a surprising way (given that it is located in an alley in the thick of bail bonds businesses) which somehow elevates the serious drinking that you can do there. Now, the drinks could be cheaper ($8.50 well and $10.00 otherwise is a bit on the steep side, especially if one has just bailed someone out of jail, but maybe Matt is trying to cater to overpaid cops and egregiously expensive lawyers), but they always have good music playing. There’s sometimes a dj, there’s a small dance floor in the back, there’s a couple of couches, there’s booths (there’s hooks!), and Ray makes The Best French Fries in San Francisco. Why-oh-why have I not been there in forever? More importantly, why weren’t you there?

The remnants of the sort of respectable people who gather for a (meaning one) drink after work before heading home to dinners containing all of the food groups and going to bed at a decent hour were just leaving as I arrived. So Matt and Ray and I had the place to ourselves long enough to get all caught up. Then two guys I took to be homeless (until one of them pulled out a cell phone much later on) came in. They seemed to be regulars, and are actually quite nice, homeless or not (I suppose they could be undercover cops, the sort of which are despatched in truly alarming numbers at various local street fairs lately). At least one of them is even a veteran, which was nicely in keeping with the patriotic tone I was trying to set with my red spaghetti-strap tee-sirt, white capri pants, and blue cardigan. (Hi, Jim and Brian!) But the cook, the owner, two old guys drinking PBR, and The Hostess is not exactly a party (although it might make for an interesting movie title), now is it? I realize that the 4th of July being on a Wednesday this year is sort of a drag, but that is precisely why I planned the Official Visit to the 18th Bar in The Book for the 4th of July Eve. I couldn’t understand why the place wasn’t packed. I mean, as Scotty had pointed out to me earlier in the day, we basically get two Fridays this week. Where was everyone? I was starting to get depressed. I was definitely disappointed. That’s when Ray, being the wise scholar that he is, suggested that I “summon” some company.

For the record, the first person I tried to summon was Chica Cherry. After all, what is an adopted sister for, if not to save you from drinking in a more or less empty bar (except perhaps for getting you tickets to see your new muse, Amy Winehouse, in September — I am sooo psyched — gracias, hermana!)? But Chica Cherry was not answering her phone — no doubt she was out doing something fabulous that she forgot to invite me to. Having tried to do the right and respectable thing (certain persons have been trying to tell me the 4th of July is a “family holiday” — I think just to upset me, but whatever), I realized that what I really could use after such a long, difficult week (yes, I realize it was only Tuesday, but trust me) was the affectionate attention of a charming southern gentleman, and it just so happens that I have one of them on speed dial…

I was actually surprised that Jonny-Georgia answered his phone, social butterfly that he has become. But he did, and I gave it to him straight: I was looking for someone to come into a basically deserted Bar, in pretty much the middle of nowhere, that was going to close at 10:00 (Matt and Ray had revised closing time in light of the largely absent crowd), just to keep me company. And the charming southern gentleman said he would “be right there”.

He got a little lost, but he didn’t give up, and Jonny-Georgia is nothing if not always worth the wait. We closed Catalyst Cocktails down and caught a cab (that was filling up at a gas station, which was novel) and headed for Ace’s, which I found out is just as much fun after dark as it is during the day, AND is the first Bar to be categorized as one of “The Bars Where One Can Hightail It Out the Back”. As an interesting (to me, at least) aside, I learned from Matt that an establishment with only one entrance/exit is only permitted to legally have 49 people in it a time as per the San Francisco fire code. This number is irrespective of the actual size of any particular place. One door means 49 persons, maximum, period. Of course, this is legally speaking, and there are a lot of “laws” that are really just reasons for the police to harass otherwise innocent citizens (just ask poor Paris Hilton), so make of this what you will.

Another thing I learned from Matt is that the key to a “real” Philly Cheesesteak is actually the bread, which can only be acquired in Philadelphia, and has something to do with the water there. There is, according to Matt, only one place in San Francisco that bothers to have bread flown in from Philadelphia (but even so, you apparently have to order “double meat” there for the authentic Philly Cheesesteak experience). Where is this place? I’m not going to tell you. This is the kind of illuminating information that one must be present at an Official Visit to glean. So, you missed out on this potentially useful (unless you are a vegetarian) tidbit. Plus, you missed enjoying The Best French Fries in San Francisco with me (unless your name is Jonny-Georgia), to say nothing of the fact that you missed out on me buying you a drink (if you were wearing red, white, and blue, that is). As for missing out on the charming company of Jonny-Georgia — and the spectacle he and I usually make of ourselves — in point of fact, I actually prefer to enjoy myself some Jonny-Georgia by myself thank you very much, and not at all shaken, but stirred — slowly, languidly even — if you know what I mean. As for Catalyst Cocktails — get thee there before it’s no longer an option! What do I mean by this cryptic comment? Let’s just say — again, for emphasis — you should have been there

Bathroom Biography:
One, but wierdly enough I have never seen a line. On this visit, I thought there could have been more toilet paper actually in the dispensers, and less on the floor, but I’ve seen worse. I told Matt to change the lightbulb in there to a pink one, so that should ameliorate things in there.

Cigar Bar and Grill Wednesday, Dec 27 2006 

850 Montgomery ~ WEBSITE ~ (415) 398-0850

6:30pm Friday 14 August 2007

Prologue: In all honesty, The Hostess is not in the mood to party at present. Truth be told, she has been feeling rather blue lately, but stumbling around the Mystery Mansion leaving crumpled tissues and empty vodka bottles all over the place is getting old, and maybe drinking in public will do her some good. After all, at least she will have to get dressed…

The Cigar Bar and Grill seems as good a place as any to reluctantly re-enter society. If the place turns out to be as heinous crowd-wise as it well may, at least there are a dizzying variety of specialty cocktails to provide a couple of hours of distraction from, well, from whatever it would be better from which to be distracted.

While Friday seems a bit hasty (and an evening more likely to be heinous crowd-wise than next Tuesday, which I was considering), the above-mentioned gloom must not be permitted to last any longer. Who knows, maybe my new hero — Mr. Paul Addis (aka the only person I have ever heard intelligently discuss a certain subject) — will surprise me and show up and allow me to buy him a drink. Or six.   (UPDATE:OK, so in the time it has taken me to write this, it turns out that Mr. Addis is probably a certified nut-job with an arson habit, but The Hostess has a historic weakness for men whose sanity is questionable at best, as many a Barfly can attest.)

Anyone who wants to buy me a drink needs to show up early. There’s no telling how long I’ll be able to keep up the complete charade of a happy person. (Alcohol is ultimately a depressant, you know …) Forbidden topics of conversation will be fire, anything that happened in the state of Nevada recently, and anyone’s whereabouts for the last three weeks (of course, Mr. Addis can talk about anything he likes, as long as he lets me sit on his lap). Tell me this doesn’t sound like the recipe for too much fun to possibly miss!!!

Please note: Barflies who have been to, through, near, or around the hamlet of Gerlach, NV  in the last two (2) years are politely requested to refrain from attending this Official Visit. No offense, but The Hostess needs a break from “the community” for a while. An exception will be made for any Barfly (current or potential) who brings Paul Addis to meet me. (The Hostess has nothing against alleged nut-job arsonists, after all.)  Especially if said Barfly proceeds to buy my new friend Paul and I drinks…

Afterword: What can I say? I mean besides: my uncanny ability to foresee certain aspects of the future may or may not have anything to do with the fact that I am a Pisces…

Granted, I was not feeling at all sociable as I arrived at the Cigar Bar and Grill at the appointed hour (see above). But not even my anti-social mood could account for the heinous-beyond-even-my-own-pessimistic-expectations nature of the teeming masses I found there. I was only able to endure being on the premises on account of three factors:

  1. I was feeling smug about being correct in pre-supposing that the crowd was going to be heinous.
  2. Chica Cherry was on her way.
  3. Jonny-Georgia was rumored to be joining us.

I tell you, though, these three mitigating factors notwithstanding, the crowd’s surreal heinousness was more than I could bear directly, so I headed to a secluded vantage point from which to survey it…

As it happens, the Cigar Bar and Grill is located on the ground floor of what is otherwise an office building with a courtyard. The Cigar Bar and Grill has completely taken over this outdoor space, but there are levels of inter-office terraces, at least one of which was accessible on the Official Visit. I found this perch furnished with comfortable outdoor furniture and made myself comfortable, thanking all the gods that I had been sure to B my own B to sustain me until a Barfly arrived to escort me through the throng below.

Because I sure as hell wasn’t going down there alone. It was beyond heinous. It was like a pathetic game of musical chairs, except there was no music, no one who had a chair was leaving it for anything, and too many ridiculous-looking young men were standing around in cliques holding lit cigars (note: I did not say smoking cigars) and stinking up the place. As if that weren’t enough, everyone was apparently screaming at the top of their lungs — the net effect being, of course, that no one could hear a word anyone else was saying and the raucous din was undoubtedly permanently injuring the eardrums of everyone present. (Note to people who speak in public places: if anyone besides the persons you are addressing can hear you, TONE IT DOWN, YOU LOUDMOUTHS!)

Chica Cherry arrived and repositioned me at a table just inside the door, the better to glimpse Jonny-Georgia as immediately as possible if he showed up.  Ever a dear, Chica Cherry even made her way through the three-deep hordes at the bar to procure us proper drinks.  This task proved just too much for me, so if you want to know about the hook situation at Cigar Bar and Grill, maybe ask Chica Cherry if she checked this out.  After drinking and screaming across the table in a largely vain attempt to hear each other, Jonny-Georgia did appear, and I’ll be damned if that boy’s movie-star smile doesn’t immediately ameliorate just about anything, including the din at the Cigar Bar and Grill. 

We had more drinks.  We hollered back and forth.  I heard a band tuning up, and we all decided it was time to go.  Jonny-Georgia had been regaling us with tales of something called “blackberry margaritas” which the Cigar Bar and Grill was lacking, and I was uncharacteristically intrigued by the unlikely-sounding concoction.

It was while Jonny-Georgia was gallantly hailing us a cab that I noticed the preposterousness of the Cigar Bar and Grill’s being one of The Bars That Promote Littering.  Get this: I actually saw persons — as in more than one — walking down the street, tossing cigarettes onto the sidewalk, and then entering the Cigar Bar and Grill, presumably to stand around holding lit cigars. 

It was absolutely and positively too much.  I’m quite sure I ranted and raved about this the whole time we were in the cab.  Fortunately, my outrage was no match for the surprisingly refreshing blackberry margarita concoction I subsequently found myself enjoying, Chica Cherry’s mysterious abdication of chaperonage duty notwithstanding…

Bathroom Biography:
You have to wander around and down some hallways to find them, but they are serviceable enough, and certainly a tranquil relief from the noise level in the Bar.

The Barfly Forum Wednesday, Dec 27 2006 

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