I’ve been against mesh T-shirts since I was a boy in a sailor suit. The world is a sad enough place, I say, without adding mesh T-shirts to the mix. Still, I suppose even we who are that article of clothing’s staunchest opponents must acknowledge that it exists, and even flourishes, in certain circumstances. And one of those places, the topic of today’s column, is the new Thursday night hot spot, BAR.
I liked the days of Kavanaugh’s and TJ’s. Both of those places, which are still options, are laid back, with good drinks, some snacks, plenty of oak and maple lining the walls, and a complete lack of people violently waving glow sticks.
To me, the perfect Thursday goes something like this — a couple of small parties with friends and then a big procession to one of these places, where you’ll find some more friends. It’s not Saturday, when you go to Toad’s to desperately protest the upcoming week. Thursday is chill.
No more, though. For those of you who haven’t been, BAR mixes what is supposedly a first-class pizzeria, a dance hall from “A Night at the Roxbury,” a medium-level bar with somewhat weak drinks, a bordello and an opium den. Naples this is not, mis amigos.
Granted, BAR has been popular with some of my friends since freshman year, most notably those who have formed intimate and long-term relationships with fishnet and leopard print. But its recent popularity is on a whole different level. Now, it’s nearly a must-go on Thursday.
I’ve been to BAR before, but I went again last Thursday in my role as fearless cub reporter. The first thing that struck me is how relentlessly “cool” the place is. The music isn’t the kind that gives you a rush when you’re dancing, like hearing “Country Grammar” or “Come on Eileen.” On the contrary, I’m pretty sure the guy who wrote the bulk of it was deaf. It’s usually one note over and over on a drum or something, followed by 30 seconds of intense synthesizer, and then a return to the original motif, if you’ll excuse my musical jargon. Not the stuff to spring on a person with a hangover. Or ears, for that matter.
Then there are the other little hallmarks suggesting that BAR is too cool for all of its inhabitants, and that it should actually be in downtown Amsterdam or something — the velvet rope, the bouncer whose hair hasn’t moved since 1993, and (I’ve saved the best for last) the dancers in cage-like cells atop the dance floor.
Are you for real? What a great job if you can get it, but how corny can they get?
I feel as if people go to BAR for the wrong reasons. It’s not that fun. You can’t hear the person you’re talking to. It’s just the cool place to be, so people trek over to Crown Street.
Naples or Kav’s might seem kind of run-down, kind of old-fashioned by comparison, but the reason that they’ve stayed around is that they’re fun. You can hang out with people there. You don’t have to pretend you can hear that hot girl you’ve been chatting up recently. You don’t have to buy sleek black shoes and act like you once went on a date with Julia Stiles. You don’t have to be pretentious.
Here’s the big secret: Yale kids aren’t that cool. We do okay, particularly in comparison with the other Ivies. Or, say, the guys from Revenge of the Nerds. But I don’t think that the Yale social scene needs a trendy bar and dance place, with a specialized “Bru Room.” I think Yale kids need to chill, get away from CCL, get away from class and have a good time. That’s not the point of BAR.
BAR does have a few advantages though, and my policy is always to give credit where it’s due. First of all, they card pretty hard, so you have fewer teeny-boppers. Secondly, it’s nice to have a mix of Yale and New Haven, something BAR has that’s pretty unique with the exception of everyone’s favorite, Richter’s. And lastly, you’re guaranteed to see people you know if you stop by. Unfortunately, you’re not guaranteed to look out of the huge window in the front of the bar and wish you were at Louis’ Lunch.
I have a sneaking suspicion I’ll be dragged back to BAR next Thursday. There are worse fates, I suppose. But I’m going to stage a one-man protest against that place’s ridiculousness in this column, even if I do see you there. The only real salvation I see for the place, beyond this fad, is if they get Rick Levin to be one of the cage dancers. And I, personally, will double his money if he wears a mesh T-shirt.