Confessions a 20th century ne'er do well: Drinking, fighting, stealing and other things one generally ought not do

Sunday, May 14, 2006

There is still beer to be drunk in New York City

I worked the door at Triad on the Upper West Side. on Saturday night where Otis Funkmeyer was playing. I’ve been spending a lot of time on the Upper West Side lately The band before them was a reggae jam band. I suggest that you shouldn’t be a jam band unless A. you’re good. And B. You make sure the crowd knows it. After a 10 minute version of “Stir it up” I jokingly asked, “Why did they stop? Don’ just tease people who want to hear a long, extended, perfunctorily rehearsed loosely structured version of a mediocre song when they’re patiently waiting for the next band to take the stage!”
Apparently, there was some famous sax player in the band.
People kept asking, “I’m friends with the band, do I still have to pay?”
First of all. Nobody at a club like that isn’t friends with the band. Secondly, how incredibly cheap and ungrateful! These guys are sacrificing their night to entertain you and you can’t part with $5? They also sacrifice every Wednesday for the past six years, and pay for studio time. Isn’t that worth $5? And it’s not like they’re peddling some CD or something. Man! Get with it. If they wanted you to get in without paying, they’d make a guest list and put you on it. Just because someone invites you to a show doesn’t mean they like you – they’d invite you out somewhere else as well if they did!
After the show we went to Yogi, located just north of the Beacon Theater (see they like me, because they invited me somewhere else).
The last time I was at Yogi was before a Merle Haggard and Bob Dylan concert. After the show, my friend, a big Merle Haggard fan, started complaining about how bad Bob Dylan is these days. How he’s lost it. I had enjoyed the show, myself, and recently, I saw that Martin Scorcesi documentary, No Direction Home, and I realized he hadn’t lost anything. He was always a little off sounding. I found it to be incredibly live and intimate, as opposed to Merle, who played the same show as last time I saw him. I love Merle, but I have no need to see him again, because he doesn’t do anything new.
Someone called it a country bar. It’s really not. It had some country in the juke box, but nobody was playing anything good. And more importantly, it was smack dab in the middle of the upper west side. It was like one of those Hogs and Heiffers places, except that no women were dancing on the bar.
Last time I was at Hogs and Heiffers, it was the night of a friend’s fiancee’s bachelorette party (not to be confused with his bachelor party, which I didn’t attend because it was in goddamn montreal). One of his stockbroker friends from New Jersey who had just purchased a midlife crisis motorcycle wanted to go. And that’s what bars are for. People from New Jersey who have no sense of what makes a good evening out.
So, we’re waiting for the bathroom as soon as we get in. Some guy tells us he’s ahead of us. I point out to the guy that our friend was already in the bathroom, so obviously, we were there before him. The bouncer leans over to us and tells us we better work it out ourselves or he’s going to throw us out.
So Mr. New Jersey Wall Street midlife crisis says, “Are you going to throw me out?” In a threatening way – joking, obviously, but I knew what was going to happen, which was the validation of his question.
So they physically push him out the door, and I say to the bouncer. OK, we’re leaving, no trouble, but my friend is in the bathroom – can I tell him.
Oh. Your friend’s in the Bathroom? Well he can leave too! He says while pushing me out the door. I had to smooth talk my way back in through the front door bouncers and get him. I smooth talked so well, I got our covers back.
What Hogs and Heiffers is known for is the female bartenders dancing on the bar. In other words, it’s defining characteristic is that it’s annoying as hell.
But, I’ll say this. If a bar is annoying, it’s better if it’s annoying because of attractive women than other sources of annoyance.
So, to sum Yogi up, it’s the kind of bar people from New Jersey might visit when they’re waiting for a concert at the Beacon Theater. This country juke box played “Why don’t we get drunk and screw,” which kind of proves my point.

I really didn’t think Yogi’s was that bad, but my friend did (That’s the worst bar I’ve ever been in, he said.), so we split and went to Jakes Dillema, on another friend’s suggestion.
“Oh. You’re not single. Damn.” This guy says before suggesting the place. Now I appreciate this guy’s assessment of my game, but the fact is, I’m perfectly capable of walking into a meat market bar and leaving alone. In fact, I used to do it a few times a weekend. When I go out, I’m usually looking for adventure, amusement, and drunkenness. Even when I was single, that was my modus operandi.
This is the kind of place people are referring to when they say that they hate the bar scene.
On the way, he tells me about all the fights he saw there last week. Sounded like something that might be pretty amusing to me.
So, on my way through the crowd, I couldn’t help but think about the temptation. Should I start a fight? It seemed to me that that would be the most fun result of entering into that place. I thought about how it would work, and who would be the right guy.
What I would have done, (in case any of my readers want to start a fight in the future). Would have been to elbow someone hard in the back. Then immediately, I’d react as he hit me, and when he turned, I’d say “What the fuck are you doing” and punch him in the face. That would be a pretty sure fire way to start a fight. The one thing you have to be careful of is that you might elbow and punch this guy, and he might not react by fighting back. Then basically, all you did was beat up a guy for no reason. Now, if he fights back, it’s OK, because all you did was give some guy who likes to fight in bars a preemptive strike.
This bar was young. The girls were standing in tight groups dancing and singing. I did appreciate the fact that as we walked in, the entire bar practically, was singing along to Don’t Stop Believing, which rocks.
I don’t 100% understand the tactic of girls standing in tight groups with their backs to the crowd. If they don’t want those kind of guys to hit on them, wouldn’t they go to one of the other zillion not collegy – and skeevy collegy – bars at that? Can’t they buy their own Kelly Clarkson CD to sing along with?
So finally, I seized the between beer opportunity to suggest splitting, and we went to an Irish Bar called Dead Poets, which was pretty mellow. They had books on the wall, and quotes by poets hanging on the wall, too. In other words, it was a poetry bar like Yogis was a country bar. I’ve been going to bars for years – for my two year stint at Steppin Out, it was at least four a week. A bar is a bar. You need a little space to move your elbows, some eye candy, and someone to hear yourself talk to. And Guiness on tap is nice. Don’t get hung up on anything else. A bar is a bar.
Thus concludes another night out drinking.