Sunday, June 03, 2012

Where Everyone Knows Your Name…But You Kinda Wish They Didn’t Part 2

If you missed part one and don’t want to be totally lame by reading completely out of order click here.Bad Boys
Anyway, we had trekked back to the car, I only survived by promising myself this little jaunt would count as my exercise for the next two weeks, and began our hunt for a nearby watering hole. Driving down Lowry Avenue, which still makes me giggle by reminding me of Martin Lawrence in Bad Boys “Cuz, I’m Mike Low-rey”, even though I’d been traversing that road long before the movie came out. The mind can be very odd sometimes. But back to driving on Lowry…

Betsy and I first came upon Club 402, I slowed the car, we both craned our necks to check it out then Betsy said “Wait, isn’t bar 402that the place on news?” “Huh? What place?” I replied having basically stopped in the road to have this discussion. Don’t worry, I was mostly to the side and there were no other cars coming or going; they were all at Loco Louie’s. Staring at the skinny, black, windowless building Betsy nodded, “Yep, that’s the place where the owner hires dealers as bus boys to attract business.” So, that was a no, we kept on moving.

Next we rolled up to Stanlav’s, it looked fine…meaning the signs were all intact, there was a parking lot with some cars but not too many and a normal looking dude hanging out by the front door. We both assumed the guy had stepped out for a cigarette…being a no smoking state, seeing patrons lingering outside bar entrances is a common sight. I parked the car however, before we actually got out of the car to check out this new establishment, Betsy and I noticed that the guy in front of the door was not smoking, not talking on a cell, not doing anything but standing there in all black and wearing giant sunglasses.

Yes, I know what you all are thinking, it was the first thing that popped into our head too…it’s a bouncer. One big issue with that assumption caused Betsy and russianI to take a closer look at our surroundings, Bars in Minneapolis do not have bouncers at 5 pm…I’ve never even heard of such a thing! So, we became a bit weary then as we scanned the parking lot an odd pattern emerged. Every single car (except my mid-range crossover) was a luxury four door sedan or SUV and everyone was either beige, black or navy blue. This may not seem significant unless you understand the neighborhood we were in…this is a place where lower middle class people lived and college kids and hipsters hung out. I’d seen Goodfellas too many times to do anything other than turn my car around and get out of there.

Today, that bar is named Stanley’s and is actually a very nice, upscale restaurant and bar…they have excellent chicken nachos!

A block down the road we came upon another nondescript bar call the Southern Castle granted the paint was a bit chipped and the parking lot was more of just an over sized driveway but outside were two men and a woman in their mid-fifties wearing jeans and sweatshirts and smoking cigarettes. We decided to check the place out…crossing our fingers it would be at least a notch above shady because by this point we could’ve totally made it back to our normal hangout. I parked in the one space left in the tiny lot, stuffed whatever I could in my pockets, buried my purse under the seat and Betsy and I headed toward the front door.
castleOnce inside, we were pleasantly surprised…we had managed to stumble into a townie bar in the middle of the city! For those of you not familiar with the term, a townie bar is one of those places you find in super small towns; a few tables, no frills and only patronized by locals. The Southern Castle had a bar down one wall, two highboys, three booths and one Buck Shot video game…nothing else. As we made out way up to the bar we noticed they had no beer on tap but offered Castle Kool-Aid from a jug along the back wall. We had stumbled into northern Minnesota lake country without having to leave the city! It was fun and then got way more fun!
We ordered our drinks and were informed that well drinks at the Castle were $2.50 and from 4 to 7 were 2 for one! Seriously?! Who cares that our drinks came in plastic cups and they only accepted cash…this could not get any better…and then it did!

There was a sliding door at the back of the bar, we walked over to check out what may be out back…I can only imagine this is what the little girl in the Secret Garden felt when she first pushed open that ivy covered door. We stepped from the drab, almost crumbling bar into an oasis! That sliding door revealed a patio surrounded by a pristine privacy fence, flanked with a glittering fountain on one side and perfectly manicured gardens on the others. In the center sat rock fire basins, umbrellaed tables and high end deck chairs! The sight was utterly amazing!
It was something beyond love at first sight. Betsy and I could not imagine going anywhere else for after work happy hours ever again. We spent a wonderful, chill evening basking in our good fortune.

But…why does there always have to be a but? This “but” grew slowly until one day I had to say goodbye to the Southern Castle and the friends I had invited to that enchanted pavilion. 

Sorry all! I totally thought I’d wrap up my story in this post…oops. But really how could I pass up mentioning almost walking into a Russian mob bar? I promise to be quick with the conclusion!

Princess WeeWee