October 18, 2005

A Bar Gone Bad

This is another aborted entry for the Las Vegas Weekly, who decided not to run this, declaring it "too personal"--although what then, I ask you, is the point of a column, but not to spout opinionated vindictiveness? (Or is that vindictive opionatedness?) Apparently I only get to crash on places if I've spent enough time there to be able to enumerate impartial reasons why they're ass and then offer suggestions for improvement. Do you know how long you'd have to sit in a place that sucks monkey to do that? Not to mention the time and effort spent writing the 600 words? No, man, the only way to rag out is with narrative.

Besides, part of being the bars columnist is to be a drinker. Or at least to me: the culture, the society, the rules and system of the bar is as much a subject for fascination as the newest (or oldest) martini joint. And, well, anyone who spends a significant time in bars will have outraged stories to tell about what a dick someone was. Or they were. Whatever.

Finally, I'd like to add that everyone I've checked with, including bartenders and bouncers, thinks this guy was fulla shit.

It’s sad when a bar turns on you. It could be a change in the clientele, the décor or the drink prices. It could be the people you’ve met there, or didn’t meet, or similar flashback-inducing bad experiences. Or, it could just be that suddenly they’ve started being assholes, as happened to me a few weeks ago.

I had always liked this bar. I had swigged their shots, swilled their beer and played both their pool table and their jukebox. I had seen surf bands and blues bands and sang Iron Maiden karaoke upon their stage. I bought rounds, tipped nicely and bused my own empties. And I expected this Friday night to be no different—hell, better, as I was uncharacteristically clad in floral print and high heels ($90 dress, $3 shoes: it’s just how I roll), was meeting a bunch of people, had just left another bunch at another bar, and so I clicked into the parking lot with a light heart and anticipatory smile. I ran into several friends and grabbed one, the Lovely Rita, to step inside for a drink. We strolled up to the bar, she ordered beers… and the bartender refused to serve us.

Now, admittedly, the Lovely Rita had had a few, but no more than many of the other patrons. Me, I was driving and had nursed my vodka like a terminal patients--if not as sober as a judge, at least as sober as a policeman. What’s more, I’d only been there for about thirty seconds. Totally bewildered, I walked back outside.

The first “What the fuck?!” had barely spluttered out of my mouth when Lovely Rita illuminated the situation. Apparently, before my arrival, as she was goofing about the parking lot in punk rock rampage fashion, she knocked over some friend’s sister’s bicycle. Sister flipped out, there were cigarettes and hissyfits thrown and, despite apologies and attempts at diplomacy—not to mention, uh, no damage--sister was not appeased. So she complained to the bartender. And Mr. Tattoos n’ Piercings decided to prove himself a badass by refusing the Lovely Rita.

Nothing to do with me, though. So, after about ten minutes, I went back into the bar, ordered a cocktail and sipped it under the watchful eye of the toughest man on the Strip. Figuring détente had been achieved and karaoke was imminent, I rounded everyone up and we grabbed a few tables, got quarters for pool and songbooks to peruse. Then I walked to the bar to fetch a few beverages for my party.

And the king of the playground says, “I already told you I won’t serve your friend or you.”

Wait. Didn’t he just serve me a greyhound not fifteen minutes ago? And stand three feet away watching me drink it?

“May I ask exactly why it is you refuse to serve me?” No, really. I actually talk like this. Especially when I am beginning to get pissed. Before I get pissed, I am just a few SAT words above normal. After I have become pissed, I have the vocabulary of a Fremont Street crackwhore. But, when the rage just hits, it’s the mouth of Noel Coward and the soul of Ted Bundy.

“I don’t have to tell you that.”

What the fuck?! However, unlike some people, I know how to obey the bar code. The currently applicable part being: Don’t attack the bartender. Anyone else who gave me such blatant and unwarranted disrespect…. He runs off and busys himself with some ice. I scoot down the bar after him. “Of course.” I am still Noel Coward-ing out. “Well, then, sir, will you shake my hand and wish me a good night?”

He ignores my extended hand and avoids my eyes. “Get outta here.”

I am gone in two seconds. But, after graciously bearing his contempt--and mine—I must make some kind of gesture. Thus, I stop at the door, turn on one three-inch heel, gaze deeply at everyone seated near the exit, hock up a big ol’ loogie and spit on the doorstep.

That’s the nice thing about Las Vegas: There’s always another bar.

Still, in light of past good times and good behavior, I’ll give this establishment another chance. Eventually. But, on principle, I must refuse my patronage at present. Besides how will I be able to resist telling this story to the next person who asks me if I want to go to Dino’s?

Posted by lissa at October 18, 2005 07:06 PM