At the ripe old age of near-30, I had my first "big" New Year's Eve plans. Courtesy of a friend, of course - if left to my own devices, I would have hung around yet another karaoke bar.
Instead, my good friend Megan came to my rescue, asking me to tag along with her and her friends at a hip and trendy bar in Dallas, Karma. Although it is located in a strip mall, it must be hip and trendy - there was a cover charge (normally it's against my religion to pay to get into a bar, but what could I do?), and we were forced to stand outside, in the cold in our pretty, non-warm shoes and skimpy outfits, until the Big, Scary Man at the door deemed us worthy of entering. At least it wasn't one of those where Mr. Big, Scary Man picks and chooses who gets in and who's not hip and trendy enough; he did go in order.
Waiting outside in the cold was quite irritating and not just for the obvious reasons. As I had mentioned, this hip and trendy place was charging a cover for the pleasure of patronizing their establishment; this cover was $10 if you arrived before 10:00 p.m., but jumped to $20 after 10:00. Conveniently, the line for non-reservations (reservations, I heard through the grapevine, involved not only the reservation of a table but also the purchase of a $300 bottle of bubbly) was stagnant until right about... 10:00 p.m. Hmm... coincidence? Or clever marketing ploy?
Considering how unhappy I was about the initial $10 charge, you can imagine how thrilled I was about being conned into paying twice as much. Had I been alone, I would have turned on my stiletto heel and made a boisterous exit, then promptly headed to my local cover-free karaoke dive. Sadly, I was with "a party," and one I barely knew at that. So I followed the mob and handed over my cash.
I guess, for people who embibe, the $20 cover charge was offset by the $3 drinks. Everything was $3, which at first made me weary (and understandably so, given the events leading up to the bar) - were these punks going to charge me $3 for my Coke with no ice? I leaned in toward the bartender to ask him, but he served the drink before I finished the question. I took the glass and turned around - no, I shall not be paying, and no, I shall not be tipping. The girl at the door took all my money, sorry, Charlie. He didn't seem to mind, though, which was good.
Other than the exorbitant cover charge, the place was nice. I could have done without the colored stobe lights, but all's well that ends well, as I didn't suffer a seizure. The music was typical club music, even though better than most, I think. I'm not a fan of "house/techno" music, I like music with words and with, well, music, not just a synthesized beat. This was still "club" music, with more beat than words, but it did have words and they played a variety of songs, not just the same three popular choices seventeen times over.
I do have to mention the bathrooms. When the line goes down the hall and around the corner, literally... you need more bathrooms. When you charge $20 for ladies to get in the stinkin' place, you can afford to put in some more bathrooms.
The coat check was, oddly enough, also in the bathroom (which was on the opposite end of the club from the bar, don't ask me why). This is not the smartest design choice, fellas - you have a line of small-bladdered, embibed women who already have their panties in a tight bunch because they need to pee and have been standing in line forever, and you're asking other embibed (and therefore less coherent) women to walk past them, cutting in line, to get to their coats and purses? What, do you have cameras set up outside the bathroom to tape the catfights? (C'mon, guys - at $20 a head, do you need the extra income?) It almost got ugly. No, boys, sorry - no catfights, all the girls kept their tops, and their bunched panties, on.
I do have to brag - I stuck it to The Man.
The bathroom contained the lady who handed you paper towels to dry your hands, and a table full of toiletries - lip gloss, makeup, and the like. And, of course, the Tip Jar. Do not ask me why on Earth I would want to borrow the community lip gloss, but I guess I'm just not hip and trendy enough to get it. There was, in addition to lip gloss and cigarrettes, a bowl of mints and Blow-Pops.
While the bathroom attendant/coat check lady was hassling with some girl's coat (which, by the way, were not hanging, but strewn across two chairs. In the bathroom), I snuck a LifeSaver.
I feel I got my $20 worth.