Sunday, October 13, 2013

Burning Questions: The Nightlife Edition

Who decides which bars and clubs on which streets will be the ones that everybody flocks to? Especially when the decor, the clientele and the music in most of them are fairly interchangeable, which has been pretty much the case with most of the gay bars and clubs in most of the cities I've recently gone out in, from Berlin to Tel Aviv. As for interchangeable straight bars in Tel Aviv, what is it, for example, about Dizengoff between Frishman and Dizengoff Square that lures large, lively crowds to the bars there while the watering holes on Allenby from the beach up to Rothschild (the crowning intersection of the Tel Aviv movida) always seem to be lifeless and lonely?

My favorite bartender at my favorite bar in Tel Aviv, 6th of May on Dizengoff Square (which is my favorite bar because of my favorite bartender and the '90s hip hop being played at just the right volume so that we don't have to shout over it), couldn't explain it either, though he was blaming his bar's lack of Friday night fever on Shabbat eve, which didn't stop everybody from flocking, as usual, to all those bars just around the corner on Dizengoff.

Why do people always want to know what time you got home? I can understand if they were out with you and, unfortunately, had to leave early. They're living the rest of the night out vicariously through you. But when I send a random friend a text message telling him what a blast I had last night, what difference does it make when I got home? Personally, I care even less about what time anybody got home last night than I do about what they had for dinner. Wouldn't it be more interesting to know if I was alone? Nobody ever seems to ask that, which might actually say more about me than it does about them!

What do you call those green vegetables with white sauce that looked like sour cream but tasted like something far more gourmet that my favorite bartender served me last night at 6th of May? I forgot to ask, but if the rest of the food there is that good, I'll have to remember to check out the other side of the menu the next time I go back.

When a bartender says, "This one's on me," does he really mean it? I can't imagine that the money to pay for it comes out of his paycheck or his tip jar at the end of the night?

How do bartenders choose which patrons to shower with free drinks? I'd like to think it's my dashing good looks or my witty repartee that inspires my favorite bartender at 6th of May to give me free shots (and last night, a generous discount on my bill) every time I go there, but he strikes me as being resolutely straight, and my witty repartee last night revolved around questions about Shabbat and the north of Israel. I'd be surprised if he wasn't stifling a yawn. It's not like I'm the world's greatest tipper either, though I hope the 20 percent that I had him add to my bill will inspire more freebies next time.

Maybe I just have a special rapport with bartenders. I never paid for a single drink in all the Friday nights I went to Limelight during my first year in New York City. In the spirit of full disclosure, the shirtless bartender there who made all of my free drinks was totally gay, but not so the one at Bandito, the Mexican restaurant in the West Village where I spent countless weekend nights drinking margaritas like they were water with my friends Laura and Jason in the early '90s. Not once did he ever hit on any us, and I don't recall him ever saying a single word to us, not even to charge us.

What is it about Tabasco sauce that makes a shot of vodka go down so easy? If I had to compare the combination to anything, I'd say it tastes a little bit like what I imagine olive juice would taste like, if such a thing existed. (Does it?) My favorite bartender at the 6th of May can pour me a shot of vodka with Tabasco sauce anytime -- especially if they continue to be on him!

When two guys emerge from a bathroom stall at the same time, trying to look inconspicuous, what are they thinking? I've watched enough TV to know why women always go to the restroom in pairs, and I've been to enough gay bars to know why men do it, too. Clearly they're up to one of two things -- or both -- neither particularly healthy or sanitary.

Do guys actually think that sending their girlfriends over to approach you for them will actually work in their favor? The only time I can remember that sort of scenario being successful for anyone was the time in Buenos Aires when a girl in Amerika sent her male friend over to chat me up for her (or so he said). She ended up going home empty-handed, but he and I had quite the memorable evening -- and another one the next night!

Why do I insist on going out at night with a credit card in my pocket? Shots of tequila with a beer back seem a lot less expensive when I'm not running out of cash -- if only for one night. (The next round's on me!) Alas, waking up the morning after with a wad of cash in one pocket means nothing when you've got a bunch of crumpled up credit card receipts in the other one and one hell of a killer hangover.
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