21
Jan
08

Looking for the heart (hic!) of Saturday night

“What do sober people do for fun at night?” asked M., as we drove around last Saturday evening.

This was a question on our minds, since we’re both trying to minimize our alcohol intake in general and during this frigid, dark month of January in particular. Also, I’m writing a piece for Lava’s online magazine Click about the subject. “Do they go bowling? I think they do. I was searching online and–hey wait, is that a cooler?” I stopped the car and looked. It was, indeed, a cooler—red-and-white, next to a BFI container, obviously someone’s trash. “That might be good for filling with booze and taking to Wreck Beach* in the summer,” said M.

 

I stopped the car and backed up. She got out of the car, opened the cooler, and returned with a scowl on her face. “It stinks,” she said. “And it’s full of empties.” 

We continued on to the meeting. “What about theatres, art galleries, coffee shops, things like that?” I asked.

 

“Yeah,” said M. “Maybe.” She didn’t seem convinced. “But coffee shops? Who wants caffeine and bright lights at night?”

 

We’d already been to a birthday party thrown in a commercial garage where, not knowing anyone, and lacking the (for us) necessary social lubricant, we’d stood around like a couple of statues. It didn’t help matters that M., who was standing in as my wingman (wingette?), was thoroughly uninspired by the selection of humans on display. “Bald heads and bad speeches,” she said with characteristic diplomacy. Needless to say, we hadn’t lasted very long.

 

“What about there?” I said. A sidewalk gathering attracted our social eagle eye as we drove past a small gallery not far from the party. Investigating, we found a cartoonist’s jam going on inside the Jem Gallery—several artists sat at tables where they were industriously penciling and inking comic strips. Sure, beer was in evidence, but it seemed of secondary importance compared to the work going on. So here was one alternative to drinking on a Saturday night: cartooning.

 

Neither of us was inclined to pick up a pencil, though, so we headed to the Biltmore Cabaret (www.biltmorecabaret.com/). Plush red banquettes and a bone-rattling sound system in the once-notorious hotel’s newly renovated bar (not to be confused with the lobby pub) have generated much buzz amongst the city’s indie-rock and hipster set as an alternative to downtown clubs and bars.

We didn’t last long there, either, though. The pounding dance-rock, the smell of alcohol, the proximity of attractive, gimlet-eyed boozers—even M. didn’t have anything negative to say about the hipster boys lounging casually on the banquettes—was too much for our sobriety addled noggins. That said, we were impressed by the décor and I thought the DJ’s selection (M.I.A., that “House of Jealous Lovers” track) was solid, though we were a little put off by drink prices more in keeping with what you’d find at a centrally located establishment with duck confit and mango cocktails on the menu.

 

Don’t worry—I only know about the drink prices because I bought Jen, who was celebrating a birthday, a beer. That night, I fell into a deep, dream-filled, alcohol-free slumber. Can’t wait ’til February, though.

*Vancouver’s nude beach.


1 Response to “Looking for the heart (hic!) of Saturday night”



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