Friday, February 10, 2012

*above graphic from NewYork Magazine*

The Verdict is in:
Apotheke sucks
(and it's probably not even very good at doing that)

Last night, some friends called me and asked me to meet them at a bar in my neighborhood. I wasn't really up for going out, but since it was just a few blocks away at a new bar I'd never been to, I was like, hey, why the heck not.

So I put on a semi-slutty outfit, because that's what I wear on Thursdays sometimes, and hiked over to said joint to have a look see. I'd heard of Apotheke before, because I read and pay attention to stuff and I like to do and see new things. When I got to the door, a giant man stood waiting for my ID, I presumed. I said hello and started digging in my purse to find it. He said, "It's too crowded inside, so you'll have to wait until some people come out before I can let you in." I tried to explain that my friends were already inside with a table and had a seat ready and waiting for me. He rolled his eyes and said, "That's fine, but you still have to wait." If it had been a warm evening, or if there had been people walking around to talk to, or if the bouncer had even been nice, I might have just waited. But it was absolutely freezing, and my friends were inside, expecting me. So I said, "Can I please just go in? I live in the neighborhood. I'm your neighbor." A woman smoking a cigarette nearby said, "I had to wait to get in, too." I said, "I appreciate that, but that doesn't make me dislike waiting in the freezing cold any less while there are people inside waiting for me."

I grew up in Maine and was cold for most of my life. If there's one thing I don't like as an adult, it's having my lady parts frozen together like some kind of disturbing popsicle.

I texted my friends that I was outside, but that I couldn't get in. My friend came to the door and said, "That's our friend, we have a table, can she come in?" He said, "You have to wait." Maybe 10 minutes passed, and a few people came out. The bouncer ID'd me and I went in. It was, in a word, annoying. It was even more irritating to find that the place was not packed at all, but that it was, in fact, quite sparse.

As I settled in and ordered a $15 drink, my boyfriend texted that he was going to come and meet us. I knew he was not going to like waiting in the cold line any more than I had. I texted back, "text me when you get close by". I figured perhaps I could sweet talk the bouncer into letting him in. But he didn't text as he got close, he texted me from the door, "There's a line, stuck waiting in the cold". I got up and went to the door, pushed it open and said to the bouncer, "That's my boyfriend, can he just come in? We already have a table and a drink waiting for him." The bouncer said, "Sorry, everyone has to wait, it's too full--" I cut him off, saying loud enough for everyone in line to hear, "That's stupid. It's not full in there. It's not even kind of full. We are neighbors of this bar. You're alienating your regular local clientele, that's dumb and rude." At this he replied, "Go inside before I have to ask you to leave." I am my fiery mother's fiery daughter. I ducked back inside and went to find a manager. I'd had it with this empowered asshole. My phone buzzed a text. "I left" my boyfriend's message stated. "Not standing in the freezing cold for this bullshit." How could I blame him?

I was pretty livid at this point. What exactly was the bouncer trying to prove? Maybe the bar told him to make people wait to create the facade of a VIP atmosphere. But all it did was make my group of friends and I irritated that we couldn't just all come out and have a nice drink, and instead had to have the frustrating, agitating dilemma of simply getting everyone in past the door asshole. In Chinatown! In the neighborhood I live in and have helped support and build for the last six years with my rent, my tax dollars and the money I spend to live here. I explained the situation to the person I was directed to, and he said, "Tell him to come back and I'll tell the bouncer to let him in," which was actually a really nice of him. He could have been an asshole, too, and frankly, I was surprised that he wasn't. But it was too late. My boyfriend had already jetted and was at another bar where he was getting treated not even with any kind of respect or superiority, but just not like an asshole.

I've lived in this area for about 6 years and I've seen some changes. That's how it is in NYC. But treating your neighbors poorly? That's just bad business. Not only am I a neighbor, but I should get cuts from local businesses for how much I refer people to places around here via my friends who come over, my blog, when I'm on stage and elsewhere. I love to give praise to people and businesses who deserve it, and I love to complain when they are doing something wrong.

We finished our drinks and left, having spent $100 on five drinks for the first and last time there.

Here's my honest review of the bar, outside of my angered self: It's a cute place. It's comfortable and warm, and pretty people hang out there. That's where the good part ends. The drinks were kind of tasty but not that great that they should make people wait like communist Russians to get one, and they were not that strong. They were also way over priced at $15 -- in Chinatown! That's the glory of Chinatown, it's not expensive. Why would you want to come down to old dirty awesome Chinatown to get overcharged at a yuppie bar? That's not what Chinatown's about at all. And they spell their name with a dumb apostrophe above one of the e's. They should really relocate to the Meatpacking District or the Upper East Side or Jersey or something where they belong and would probably really flourish. I will honestly never drink there again, unless someone who really wants to go for some reason is paying for my drinks, and if that happens, I'll really try to talk them out of going. They got the last dollar out of me that they will ever get. I don't expect them to last, based on the reviews they got and the way they treat their clientele.

As I left, I drunkenly said to the bouncer, "I told on you, and I'm never coming back to this over priced snotty dump." He rolled his eyes again and responded, "See you next weekend." He really didn't get just how insulting he had been to paying customers. It was just crazy.

Some short little Mexican man standing next to him said, "God bless you," and I yelled back, "I'm blessed, I don't need God to bless me," and strolled off like an *only slightly* drunken imbecile, into the night.

And the moral of the story is that we, as a society, are all assholes, every one of us.

If you really want an awesome and not over priced drink made really cleverly by a smart, funny, not snobby bartender "apothecary style", go to White Star Bar on Essex St between Hester and Canal. The place probably won't be around for much longer. It's cozy, easy and lovely. The people are way nice, it's rarely crowded except on weekends and the vibe is warm and welcoming. My (and surely, most people's) kind of place!


J said...

lady parts can get frozen together? that has not been my experience. yet. another artistic post.

J said...

as soon as a bar gets a bouncer, it's not a neighborhood bar.

Yours Truly said...

I can understand why any bar might want to have a bouncer to cut out the riff raff. So much riff raff!