Monday, July 9, 2007

BSM: New Downtown Hotspots

BullSh*tMeterA few in particular come to mind, but I'm sure there's others that I'm not thinking of and more to come. Let's just talk about Bang Nightclub, Cadillac Ranch, Lodge Bar, Sully's and McFadden's. One might see all these bars as a positive step in the continued development of downtown. These are the new "hotspots." But what do they really bring to the city?

Well, they're pretty generic in their personality. Sully's and McFaddens are basically sports bars with lots of dark wood and brass. Whoopty sh*t. Their appearance may be an attempt at upscale, but a constant barrage of TVs (tuned to sports, mostly) really kills that "refined" atmosphere.

Then there's the Lodge Bar and the Cadillac Ranch which I can only describe as "redneck chic," - I blame NASCAR for this sh*t. If you want a real country bar then grow a pair and go to Bobby Mackey's. But DJs and live music with no country bands don't a country bar make, just cuz you got tacky hick sh*t on the walls. Does this LOOK like a country crowd?

Bang - which is basically the same sh*t as Club Klau and whatever the hell it was after that - and other clubs like it remind me of one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite movies, The Fisher King:

"I told you about these people. They only mate with their own kind. It's yuppie inbreeding. That's why they're retarded and wear the same clothes. They don't feel love. They only negotiate love moments. They're evil, Edwin. They're repulsed by imperfection, horrified by the banal... everything that America stands for! They must be stopped before it's too late. It's us or them."
Funny thing is, after re-reading that bit from the script, I'm thinking it applies all of these bars. You've got five bars that are so pathetic in their concept that they're excellent at attracting a pathetic crowd. Great, that's just what we need more of downtown (or in any neighborhood): pretty sheep.

The only hope we have is all that all these places can help bring critical mass downtown so that a wider audience is willing to come down and see all the other great places and things to do that downtown has to offer.

So this week's BullSh*tMeter goes to the "yuppie watering holes" (also another quote from Fisher King) that are pockmarking our urban landscape. I wish you luck and success, as I wish any business downtown prosperity - but I'll be avoiding your bullsh*t like the plague. My boots are only thigh-highs.


5chw4r7z said...

I agree with your assesment of the downtown bars you talked about BUT, I think you need a little of everything. Sully's I'll never set foot in again, Cadillac ranch also for that matter. The other ones not after 11pm thank you. Bang! is cool in that everyone acts civilized and they aren't staggering drunk. BUT, they are pretentious and in the restrooms brag about how their drink is the most expensive in at the bar.
All in all I didn't have a horrible time there.
The beauty of all these bars is people can come downtown not really knowing what they want to do, and then find something to do once here.

CincyBlurg said...

I inadvertently read the end of 5chw4r7z' comment as, "find something to do here once," not "once here." And I think that's the issue right there - so many of these places are appealing to people until they get inside, and once the excitement of a new place wears off, there's not much substance to sustain them. How many meat markets can you have?

I like the fact that downtown finally has a variety of new clubs once again, but my issue is that they always open clubs of a sort that have a 6-month to 2-year shelf-life. These aren't the kind of places that last, these are the flash-in-the-pan-get-rich-while-they're-hot kind of places we see popping up in many newly revitalized downtown areas across the country.

Take Columbus' Arena District for example: when it first opened, these new clubs were gangbusters every night just because they were new. We went there on a SATURDAY night nearly a 1.5 years after the opening of the Arena District and all the major anchor establishments barely had two dozen people in them each.

Without a personality of their own bars are dead once their newness wears off. Trying to look country while playing dance/pop music or faking the look of a hunting lodge with lots of dead sh*t on the walls isn't even an image - it's just bullsh*t. The personality of a cafe or pub is found in the originality of the cuisine, the genuine friendliness of the staff, the uniqueness of their drink offerings, and the commitment of the owners/managers.

That's why places like Neon's persisted as long as they did, why Mr. Pitiful's and Milton's carry on through hard times with loyal patrons and Tina's and Madonna's are stalwarts. The last two may not be the greatest bars in the world, but they're consistent, comfortable, and they have committed, involved owners.

Cindy Dy said...

Very interesting story. I didn't find it boring to read. In fact, I really had a lot of fun reading your post. Thanks.


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