Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Guys Night Out: President's Day Edition

So I think I'm going to start a new feature on TAN, and I'm calling it "Guys Night Out." Fairly self explanatory, these evenings always unfold in different ways, and it's time to start documenting. Maybe we'll learn something. You'll see I had a Guys Night Out with copyranter and some non-bloggers a couple weeks ago, it concluded with electrifying footage of me crying over a piece of Popeye's fried chicken (film not posted), so obviously someone needs to be telling these stories. I think the only stipulation/rule needed is three or more guys (at the start of the evening), and alcohol ... mix it all together and you have:


Prelude: The Friendship Credit System

So this edition occurs on Sunday eve, the night before President's Day. And it was one of the rare episodes actually initiated by TAN. I'm usually lured into nights on the town, I don't usually start them, after all Negro Bowl coverage doesn't just write itself while I'm out drinking Ketel & Crans.

But this Sunday I thought I set us up with a no-brainer. The crew that runs okayplayer was having a birthday party, open bar, at this downtown wine spot Von. I might be doing some work with them (stop sleeping on the TAN takeover), plus I feel the okayplayer brand carries an implicit promise of cute girls that like hip hop; so combine that with Von being right off my train line (the 6), a holiday the next day, and free drinks ...as I said, no-brainer.

I recruited two fellow assimilated negro associates, we'll call them TAN2 and TAN3 for now. And while TAN3 was equally enthused and offered little reticence, TAN2 was fronting because he was one of the few people that had to go to work the next day. Kickoff time at Von was 9:30, so it would be tough for it to be an early night, and he was concerned about the consequences for Monday.

This led to the prelude centering around forming the skeleton for a Friendship Credit System. TAN2 kept making sure that I knew he was going out to be "a good friend," and that in the context of work it was sort of a pain in the ass. But after hearing him going on about this for a while, I told him that while he gets some credit, it's not that big of a deal, for all of the reasons I cited above. The comparison was made to the act of picking up food/pizza delivery at TAN2's four-floor walkup apartment. So then I started thinking about the chip system that earns you friendship credits. For example, if the party was located all the way on the west side and we had to do a bunch of walking in the cold, that would add chips to the table. And if there happened to be a ton of girls at this party, it would take chips off because I'd be doing him a favor. The rest of the trip to Von consisted of figuring out how many chips TAN2 had earned. The final statement was made after getting off the train, while crossing the street TAN2 sort of prevented me from being hit by a car, and immediately tacked on big numbers to his chip count. We never did seal down a reward system though, i.e. x # of chips = you buy me a ticket to Vegas. Maybe next time.

Von: The Ironic Appeal of Crowds

We got to Von around 10:15 or so, and it was already very crowded, and people were continuing to pour in. I left TAN2 at the bar so I could case the joint and look for the birthday girl (whom I hadn't met in person). I spotted her, and exchanged a few pleasantries, but it was tough to do any talking. I got the "code" for the open bar and returned to share the info with TAN2. When we finally got to the bartender I was informed, "the tab has run out, no more open bar." YES!! Awesome. The bartender actually looked out and gave free drinks on that round, but I guess tabs run out quickly when the place is overstuffed. That also crossed off one of the bullets on the "no-brainer checklist," TAN2 was adding more chips to his tally.

Since moving around was a headache, we planned to stay at the bar for the first round, then re-up and move to the back. It seems to me bars have a really small window for being actually conducive to the process of meeting people etc.. If you go to a bar or spot where no one is there, then "it's dead" and no one wants to be there. But if it's crowded and poppin', you can't get around or talk or do anything. You need that balance, and how often do you get that? I think this is the main reason why bars aren't inherently compelling to me.

So we moved to the back and waited to hear from TAN3, who was coming from an earlier outing. In the process we got to talk a little bit with some of the okaypeeps, so at least part of the mission was accomplished. But it was all cumbersome, all moving about required traffic cones and people being punched in the face for fear of them knocking into your glass of wine. TAN2 premised that since he was out, he could stay out (he actually said that after his first sip of wine, alcohol solves everything with him), but we'd need to change venues since this one was frustrating. So when TAN3 finally arrived, we appraised him of the scene. Fought through the crowd for one more drink, and then we bounced.

The Crawl: There Is No Force More Powerful Than Drunken Hunger

At this point TAN2 and myself realized we had not eaten, and the hunger was consuming our brains. All speculation on venues were based on their proximity to an adequate eating establishment. There were two main options: No Malice Palace, which has a vintage taco shack next door. Or Keybar, which is down the block from a Popeye's, and was the main venue for the aforementioned episode with copyranter. We theorized the taco shack would be closed on a cold Sunday night, so Keybar it was. Three negroes successfully hailed a cab, and we pulled up just as Popeye's was closing their doors. CURSES!!! I was so disappointed, but we went into Keybar anyways, where my misery was compounded by getting the worst glass of wine (merlot) I've ever partially consumed. TAN2 at this point was ready to start heading home, but TAN3 was still looking for action. We decided to give No Malice and the tacos a shot.

Three negroes successfully hailed a cab AGAIN, and we pulled up just as the Taco Shack was closing its doors. DAMN YOU GOD, HAVE YOU NO MERCY!!! We went into No Malice still hungry, but at least here we had some hip hop music playing. No Malice should have been the place we came to first, we would have gotten the tacos, and the scene was nice. Instead, TAN2 and myself were now totally all about getting some food. My dodgeball had been blowing up with people at Lit Lounge, where they have a karaoke night every Sunday, and usually an open bar to accompany for an hour or two. There are also eating options around.

At Lit we ran into some familiar friends and bloggers. But the segue of going from a smoother hip hop spot to an indie rock scene with people doing ABSOLUTELY HORRIBLE karaoke ... that was a little tough. Nevertheless, we held it down for a little while with friends. We considered doing a Three Negroes version of "99Problems," but I wasn't down. After a few drinks we decided to wrap it up. TAN3 still wasn't hungry, so he took off on his own to catch the last Path train of the night. TAN2 and myself hit up Veselka to go. And two negroes hailed their third cab of the night. Which I guess means the night, all in all, wasn't too bad. At least I have something to tell my grandkids.

(also, considering nothing really happened on this GNO, I have to find a way to make this a little more succint)


  1. Denied food at not one but two eateries? Would we even call Popeye's an eatery? Also, wasn't there a KFC (Kennedy Fried Chicken) nearby? Dang. This would never have happened in Chicago. If you sit in any bar long enough, eventually a Latino man will come in selling fresh homemade tamales. 6 for $5, and you get your choice of chicken, pork, or tamales. Delicious.

  2. Correction to my previous comment: "... you get your choice of chicken, pork, or cheese tamales."

  3. wow that sounds like the nights out I have when I come visit my friends in the city....

  4. Jasmine - really? that totally makes me want to go to Chicago.

    lauren - we should team up sometime and see how that changes things


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