6/15/2007

Friday Morning Rhapsodic: My Other Local

If MD and I are out on the town, there's a pretty good chance that at some point in the evening we will have stopped by our regular spot. The barkeeps are great, the happy hour caters to people who don't get out of work at 5 sharp (a very generous 6-9pm 2-for-1 sort of thing -- don't get me started on those strange happy hours that run from 5-6pm and give you a $1 discount on your second drink), and even though it sometimes gets pretty packed on the weekends, I can almost always squeeze onto a seat at the bar. I also love my local because it's the site of many epic evenings. By epic here I don't necessarily mean crazydrunk or madhookup sort of epic. I mean...memorable. There was the night last spring when MS, NM, and I photo-documented our debauchery, complete with pics of other people hitting on each other at the bar. (The fellow in the picture on the right still remains something of a mystery from that evening; NM and I for the life of us can't remember his name, or his provenance. But he sat next to us, making very drunk conversation.) Or the lovely, new-standard-setting first date I had there last fall. Or the recent indie royalty free-for-all that saw members of Pipas, the Clientele, and the Ladybug Transistor drink and flirt the night away. That sort of epic. Really wonderful things have happened there, and though I'm sometimes hesitant to embrace my lushness, I'm never ashamed to admit that my local has given me some pretty amazing memories. No, seriously. Not every night is a local sort of night though, and more often than not, if I'm wanting to shell out some money and not be so sociable, I go to my private local, a spot I thank RZS for introducing me to. It's a little wine bar sort of place not terribly far from my apartment, and has the feel of a cafe more than a bar per se. This is, I think, one of its strengths: because most people are sitting down at the little two-tops or communal tables, or at the bar, one might feel awkward just standing near the bar with a drink. It's not that sort of place. Besides, there's only wine and bottled beers; you're not going to get a sidecar or a greyhound at this place. There's something very genteel about the whole thing. The folks behind the bar are young, goofy, much too attractive for their own good, but somehow still incredibly down to earth. It's a little disarming. The slightly edgy, hip civility about the whole thing makes it a pretty comfortable spot, which is why I'll meet up with folks there and split carafes of wine and just lounge for a few hours. But I think one of its silent merits is that it's not really set up for casual encounters -- not that such things couldn't happen there, but I don't think the space/ethos is really about that. Or, put differently: it's not a singles scene. And yet, by the same token, it encourages a kind of easy-going sociability that doesn't necessarily have that awkward undertone of flirtation. I could easily start a conversation with someone sitting next to me, but it wouldn't have that slightly unnerving potential-picking-up sort of vibe. I mean, it's hard being a single person in a city -- going to bars by oneself (especially being a woman) is tricky because one tends to feel like there's a big sign on one's back upon entering. I am a single woman. Please hit on me, or please talk to me if I start hitting on you. And at this place that quite frankly I'm not going to name, I sort of feel ... I don't know. The single/coupled dichotomy doesn't seem to take hold there, at least not for me. Nothing epic ever happens here, and it's not that that absence is refreshing so much as it is ... different. Time passes, very lazily, and usually to quiet conversation. I would almost say that it feels European, but I don't think that's quite it. It's not like there aren't single people in Europe. I guess this place exists somewhat strangely in some kind of bizarro universe where those sorts of identity markers don't matter at the get-go. When I'm there, I forget that those things are supposed to matter. It's nice. I almost wish I could take you all there. Almost.

2 comments:

ks said...

i know this place. we've been there together. i like it too and i'm happy that you introduced me to it. of course, i could be wrong and the place i'm thinking is not the one you mean. either way, let's keep it to ourselves. xo.

Asad said...

is it café gitane or is it brown?

and, people can definitely be too good-looking for other people's good, but for their own?