The Brigadoon of Gay Bars

Since 2/3 of our trivia team were otherwise indisposed, Roxy and I decided to do a mini pub crawl last night. We started at Tango. I'd tried to go there once before on a Friday, but it was too crowded. During Happy Hour, time's a wastin', so you can't afford to wait for a seat at one establishment. We'd abandoned the notion in lieu of the Honey Hole.

We found that Happy Hour at Tango on a Tuesday was doable. In retrospect, it's Friday popularity had done us a favor. Tango lacks atmosphere and the food is all pretension with little payoff.

We finished our weak, overpriced drinks and bolted to the Honey Hole to catch the last 30 minutes of their happy hour. We polished off a couple of $3 martinis and a plate of Gilroy Chips. We'd ordered twice as much at the Honey Hole as we'd done at Tango and our bill was still cheaper. Tango sucks.

When trying to decide where to go next, I'd remembered an awesome gay bar around the corner from Chop Suey that Meep and I had killed some time in about a year ago. It was called Martin's. On the night that Meep and I had gone, they were playing some GOOD 80's music (Hall and Oates and New Order, as opposed to Love Shack) on the juke box. Men were dancing their hearts out everywhere. The bartender was on ROLLER SKATES and he was wearing an orange vest with no shirt, hot pants and a goddamned yellow hard hat. Naturally, he had a mustache. A very drunk gay man told me and Meep that we were beautiful. We drank our beers and reveled in the, well, revelry. EVERYONE in this bar was having a blast. It was as if someone was making a movie and wanted to create the most fun gay bar stereotype they could. It was glorious. We had to leave after one beer because we were meeting our men folk and we knew that they wouldn't be interested in such a scene. But for us, it was perfect and we vowed to come back when we were again without our boyfriends.

I told this to Roxy. She had never been inside Martin's. She seemed surprised that it was like that inside. We walked up to the door. Through the window, I could see that it was dark inside. This was certainly in contrast to the brightly lit bar I'd remembered, but I proceeded to open the door anyway. A few steps inside the door, I could hardly recognize the place. The juke box was gone. There was no dancing. I'm not even sure there was music playing. If there was, it was at a subliminal volume and was certainly not an 80's classic. Everyone was sitting down at intimate tables talking quietly. There was a fireplace. The decor was dark and boring. The place looked like a ski lodge. We backed out the door slowly and cautiously and ended our night at the more consistent Twilight Exit.

I was floored. What had happened? And how long ago? Did the Martin's that Meep and I had loved so dearly for one night even exist? Or had we stumbled into some alternate dimension that we will find again? Perhaps our Martin's was the Brigadoon of gay bars: For one magical night every 100 years, you can visit it, but you'd better live it up and leave before last call, or you'll be trapped. When you reemerge, everyone you love will be long dead.

Thank you, Martin's, for letting me and Meep be a part of your fleeting magic.

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