Over the weekend I spent an unprecedented amount of time downtown. Well, unprecedented except for that time when I used to have a real job and work there every day... And sure, Jackie and I practically begged you to join us there for Silk City flicks and fun all weekend via the blog and Facebook accounts. But that's over with now and I can freely admit that Downtown has always been my last choice destination for leisure time, and this weekend (awesome new friends notwithstanding) did nothing to change that.
The irritating shit began early Friday evening. I joined Jackie and our newest best friends from New York at Vaughan's for a pre-screening Happy Hour. There was one bartender working, and after a few minutes of being totally ignored by her (no eye contact, nothing), I noticed three serving boys congregated at the end of the bar. Jacks and I wanted drinks, so we approached them. We were almost immediately reprimanded by a manager, who condescendingly explained to us that the bartender was not ignoring us, she is busy, and that Jackie has been ignoring the serving boys when they tried to approach her and that if we want to be served by them, we need to sit down and shut up. I patiently explained to her that I was just trying to give her my money. A serving boy followed us back to our area and apologized for her bitchiness. He brought us some drinks, but I was apparently being punished for my impudence with the manager, because mine were all water. Jackie got a buzz; I got expensive, bitter water. It wasn't serving boy's fault. I tipped him anyway. But I won't be back.
After the screenings we reconvened at The Tavern. And while this venue was very hospitable to the Flick Fest, I cannot overlook the douchiness of their music (which was blasting painfully loud) - we walked in to the tune of Limp Bizkit's "Rollin." Ugh. We also heard a rap/rock mashup of Boston's "More Than a Feeling." I wish I made that up. The fake drinks flowed freely here as well. Three more fake vodka tonics later, I didn't have a hint of a buzz. And I'm not a person with "tolerance." (I thought maybe Bikram had given me a SuperLiver, but a few glasses of legit wine later in the weekend proved otherwise; you can't fake wine.) But seriously, how am I supposed to have an poorly thought out hookup with a sexy out-of-towner if I'm sober? Hmmm? We actually returned to this joint for a second evening of fake drinks and terrible music the next night, as they were the official festival afterparty destination. But it's going to take some pretty awesome new visiting friends with hot accents to get us back there again.
However, the absolute nadir of Downtown Hartford culture would have to be Black Bear, another venue that must be simultaneously acknowledged and appreciated as good festival partners. But whatevs! I've been to the chain bar once before, at the behest of my awful ex-coworkers, to drink beers from a plastic cup and listen to 80s covers played by an out-of-town cover band. Because CT definitely doesn't have enough native cover band talent. On that occasion the club was packed. Area skanks were digging the aging, chest-baring rockers, but the highlight of the evening for me was the well-dressed boys from the Wolf Pack standing around looking all hot (going to the bar in suits in is their contracts).
So it was a surprise to see that before sundown, Black Bear functions as a family restaurant and sports bar. A pack of little kids ran wild as their pops watched the game and gorged themselves on generic American fried food. Actually, we were kind of appalled by this, because the lady servers were wearing skimpy tops, and in some cases skimpy bottoms as well. Best to impress those gender expectations early on, I guess. In typical misogynist/heterosexist fashion, the male employees were wearing roomy polo shirts and long pants. Frankly, I found it a little gross to be served food by someone with her armpits and asscheeks hanging out.
If there is one bright spot business-wise downtown, it is Aladdin. Actually, Aladdin is awesome. It's no Mahmoun's, but I am thrilled that Hartford has a late-night felafel (and pizza, and other Middle Eastern food) joint, a much needed healthy-ish antidote to the fake drinks and fried fat marathon that preceded our midnight snack there.