there's a reason
the event posters suggested stuff would get rolling after 9, but wandering in even at 9:30 (yeah, i know, only the old folks show up in the first hour) there still wasn't any way to get a beer, cuz "the bar's not set up yet". i don't know how "set up" you have to be to reach into a fridge and hand somebody a beer, but apparently it must be a union shop or something.
we can also take a moment to discuss the beer selection, and ask since when it was that corona became a premium pour? actually, i shouldn't say pour, because there were no taps. lets just say, rather, the premium open. well, we can't even say that, necessarily, because, apparently, the little thing working the little area at the bar at which we found ourselves was having a great deal of trouble working the opener itself. no, not just working the opener itself, but actually, and i say this in all sincerity, and quite literally, figuring out which end of the opener is supposed to go in your hand, and which end is supposed to work the top of the bottle. $4.50 for mexico's cheapest beer. you know, you can get a freshly tapped guinness over at the worthen for less than that, and someone who can actually manage to get it to you in less than 15 minutes, too.
yes, premium. the rest of the selection, if memory serves, was mich ultra, bud lite, amstel light, and budweiser. i tried the budweiser first, and i know the folks at AB don't allow places to serve expired bud, which is supposed to be why people like me will order it in a pinch, cuz at least it's not skunked, but that's generally speaking and i'm here to say that the bottle-related talents of the staff at gemstones apparently extends to being able to foul even the most un-foulable of beers. i couldn't even finish my first one. how they did it remains a mystery, but suffice it to say that they did it. so i ordered what i figured was going to be the next best thing, which is a beer that, though of questionable vintage, would at least be treated with a little citrus in order to soak out the foulest bits.
let's talk citrus, shall we? there are lime wedges, as you know, and there are lime wedges. some places cut theirs a little narrower to save on the inventory carrying costs, and you kinda know to expect it, and that's ok. but these, i'm here to tell you, were cut so thin that if you turned your bottle 90 degrees they actually disappeared. the person sitting next to me at the table almost spit up her drink when i held up my beer and slowly twisted it until the total eclipse of the bar fruit. i'm thinking they likely served every single corona in that fridge, all night long, off the proceeds from one single green puckerer.
i'd like to digress at this point to talk about the cambodian grocery outfit on chelmsford street in the highlands. this place is great. they put their produce out front of the cinderblock garage that serves as their establishment in pallet-sized quantities. you may be thinking, gee, he likes to exaggerate, but you can know that th size description is perfectly accurate, since, as anyone can plainly see when they're driving past, the produce is actually placed outside still ON the pallets upon which they were shipped. 20 pound bags of rice... watermelons... and, quite frequently, i'm thinking for preparing things like pad thai and other traditional noodle dishes, limes. yep, palletloads of limes. 12 for a buck limes. limes in quantities so large and so cheap that you could shove an entire half of one of those babies in every beer bottle of every brand that you would sell out of your cooler all night long, and still be talking, what, seven cents a serving? hell, i'd even be happy to front the bar a fiver so they could start with a good inventory.
so, yeah, invisible citrus.
the decor i won't get into except to say that the little self-contained fountain on the stairway was foamed up to the point where you know one of two things must be happening over the course of most nights: they're either pouring out some of those foul buds into it, rather than have to finish them, OR, the line to the bathroom must get a little long for some folks.
the moment of zen i'll leave you with (i have to abbreviate all the rest of the complaints, or i'll never finish this) is when it came time for the opener-challenged kid to total up the tab. seven little tally marks on a little green sheet of paper. four-fifty a throw. (the bud i had purchased with cash earlier, so it wasn't part of this particular equation). there was quickly a huddle of all the boobs and openers behind the bar. this was a poser. the buds, well, they're an even three bucks apiece. but those premium beers... those coronas... there's DECIMALS involved!!! they were stumped. all of them.
to their credit, they must have recognized mine as an honest face, so they were willing to figure that $31.50 sounded reasonable. you could even see glimmers of awe and inspiration, that people could do such advanced things in their head in a bar after seven beers, though i must admit that the seven included two rounds of three and an extra, so i'm pretty sure i had only three in total myself, not counting the mouthful of AB skunk that wasn't finished earlier.
but, i swear, even three sheets to the wind, and not just three little coronas, i still know that seven times four is twenty-eight, and half of seven is three-fifty, which, added to twenty-eight...
oh, look, i think we lost them again...
a completely bogus experience that is not desired to be repeated.