From the end of high school, through college and the years thereafter, I have been to my share of bars and clubs and would like to think I have a pretty good grasp of what is and isn't appropriate to wear, keeping in mind the type of bar or club, the occasion and the location of the establishment. So when I visited Off the Hookah, a bar and lounge in Downtown Fort Lauderdale, FL, last weekend and was told I had to remove my hat to enter, I was none to pleased to say the least.
Also, I feel that it is important to note that I am a very reasonable person who rarely ever gets upset over anything and always attempts to look at any situation from the other party's point of view before forming an opinion or...writing a blog about what I find to be...well for the use of a better term...not logical in the mind of a socially succesful human being. But the more I thought about it, the less it made sense and the more everything about the lounge started to agitate me.
The first thing "Off the Hookah" did wrong was violate the unwritten rule of rewarding positive guy to girl ratio. What am I talking about? Well I showed up to the front of the lounge with two beautiful women. Once again, no, I am not that smooth as one was my girlfriend and the other was her roommate, but the bouncers don't know that. But instead of rewarding my generous gift to the bar for the night, they had to anger the person buying the first round of drinks...ummm, ya, that's me.
Anyway, I abided by their rules because...well, the security guard was much larger than me, I didn't feel like walking home and "The Dude abides." Sorry, I had to say it, I love that movie. And yes, I know there are plenty of places that have this rule in place to create a sense of class at their establishment, especially clubs, which I would never wear a hat to. But there are two things that bothered me about "Off the Hookah" making me remove my hat. First, you are a freaking hookah bar/lounge! People come to your place to relax, smoke flavored tobacco and...well, lounge. If you want to be an upscale establishment, open a club on South Beach, not a bar in downtown Fort Lauderdale where most bars will let you walk in after you finished running at the gym. And second, why do people wear hats when they go out? Well, either for a fashionable reason because it matches their outfit, or their hair looks like crap and they don't really have time to deal with it. And in my case, both of those boxes were checked off.
So in this establishment where you are attempting to creat a sense of class by forcing all your customers to abide by a certain dress code so that whey will look appealing, you A) made me remove a hat which was being worn in an artistically appealing manor which enhanced the outfit I was wearing, in turn diminishing my aesthetically appealing value and B) made me remove a hat which was concealing the thin-haired, porcupine-resembling mop in desperate need of a haircut which was covering my head, in turn converting me from a stylish laid back guy to what resembled an out of place patron whose hair looked like a bully just bombarded it with noogies. But hey, at least I didn't have a hat on. I would also be leaving out pertinent information if I failed to mention that the hat I was wearing was a throwback Milwaukee Brewers hat. I mean c'mon! Who doesn't love a throwback brewers hat!?!? Everyone knows that the picture of a yellow glove witha ball in the middle is a staple of American culture bred by everything that was once great in a young boys life. Not to mention, where do you think all that beer you guys are serving comes from?
Once I stopped dwelling on my precious hat sitting helplessly in "Off the Hookah's" "hat designated" cubby hole, probably with other hats that were not worthy of being brushed against by my hat, I noticed another thing that, to quote Peter Griffin, "grinds my gears." I was unable to get the attention of the bartender who should have been handing me a beer because he was to busy attempting to flip a plastic "practice" liquor bottle off his elbow and catch it behing his back. HELLO!!!! I don't care if you can make the bottle speak to me, unless it's from something you are serving me; I just want a damn beer! Which got me thinking about every single bar who has their bartenders attempting to accumulate more flair tricks than the actual amount of drinks they know how to prepare. I come to the bar to converse with friends, bartenders and drink (that is ofcourse if I am not the designated driver that night). And if I am having a good time, I am going to tip extremely well. So when you are busy picking up plastic bottles that keep bouncing off the hands that should be opening my beer, it's not going to make me very happy. So if you are a bar tender hoping to make more money, pay attention to your customers, learn what they like to drink and stop worrying about looking cool for some girl who isn't going to sleep with you anyway.
And once I finally got my $5 beer, I noticed the bar was starting to get a bit smokey. Fair enough I thought. I voluntarily came to a hookah bar expecting there to be smoke around me, so I wasn't yet perplexed, that is until I realized that the bar had a machine creating enough smoke to fill the entire establishment. Yes, they didn't think the bar was smokey enough from everyone smoking a hookah, so they had to make it look as though it was smokier than in really was. That's CLASSY! Looks like you guys are a real UPSCALE establishment. It's a good thing I didn't have my hat on, someone may have been offended to be hanging out with a hatted hoodlum while enjoying the smoke they were breathing in. Now I get it! Next time I will make sure I dress more appropriately in case someone finds a way to see through all the fake smoke and leave for a nicer establishment because they were offended by my hat which only honors the beverages that are making you money and an American pastime which layed the foundation for the athletic growth of our generation. OK, that last sentence may have been a bit overdramatic, but at least I am writing this blog with the freedom of being allowed to wear my throwback Milwaukee Brewers hat...backward!