Monday, March 02, 2009

Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows you're lame...

At our house we celebrate Valentine's Day the weekend after Valentine's Day. This started when we were first married and working and in school and poor. Trying to squeeze in some Valentine's Day fun between jobs and homework and crowds and not having money was more stress than it was worth so we started postponing our celebration until the weekend when we had more time and things were less crowded and our money went a bit further. Of course, this year Valentine's Day fell on a weekend, but we postponed it until the following weekend so that we could avoid the crowds, get a babysitter, and stretch our money a bit further.

Bryce consulted with his "night life adviser" and came up with a secret plan. My mom (who happens to be in town as a witness for a murder trial...yup, you read that right) and Mollie agreed to babysit. We started off the night at Braza Grill where Bryce may or may not have lit his straw wrapper on fire while trying to "freak me out" by "pretending to light his straw wrapper on fire." Then we headed to Salt Lake where we (surprise!) had reservations at The Tavernacle which bills itself as a dueling piano bar. I'm not sure what image that conjures up in your mind, but for some reason I envisioned multiple pianists busting out jazz and jazzed up versions of popular songs in the dim light of a swanky lounge trimmed out in slate and leather while people still in their business-wear sip martinis and stop their witty banter only long enough to politely applaud at the end of each musical number.


EEEEHHHH Wrong.


More on that later.


We were a bit early for our 8:30 reservation so we parked around the corner across from Gourmandise bakery...which I was a little excited about since I had just read about Gourmandise on a blog written by someone leading a much more interesting and well-connected life than my own. I got a chocolate dipped sugar cookie and we headed outside to wander around for a bit. There wasn't much open, but we found a small cd shop that smelled funky and spent a while browsing through their collection of used cds. When we had looked at everything we could possibly look at we went back out and walked around a little more until I protested that my red heels were threatening to permanently cripple me and then we went and stood in line at The Tavernacle. A glance at our fellow line-standers revealed a dearth of business-dressed witty banterers. At the front of the line we got carded (gasp) and paid our cover and then were shown to our reserved table for two in the corner by the windows. We had just eaten so we really weren't hungry, but I figured they would not appreciate us taking up a table and not spending any money so I had already pre-determined to order a soda or an appetizer or something. Food was out of the question, however, because they don't serve any. At all. It appeared that if you were hungry they would provide you a menu for a nearby pizza place who would then deliver your pizza directly to you. A waitress appeared and I'm sure she had already sized us up, but in case she missed something, we cleared up any ambiguity when she asked if she could get us any drinks and I asked for a Sprite. She looked at me for a second and walked off. No Sprite was ever seen or spoken of again. She stopped by twice more and asked if we needed anything before ignoring us for the rest of our stay. Being ignored was preferable so we had no problem with that. I'm still not entirely sure if she just forgot about the Sprite or if I was supposed to pay when I ordered so she never brought it or they didn't have any soft drinks or what happened there. I told Bryce that we should have told her we were both designated drivers and then maybe we would have gotten free soft drinks. I hear some places do that. So I'm told anyway. If you believe the commercials. The "show" didn't start until 9, but we had to arrive by 8:30 to claim our reservation so we had a solid half hour to scope out the other patrons before anything started happening. Clearly, they were not concerned about the lack of soft drinks.

The show started at 9 when a young woman and a young guy took their places at 2 grand pianos in the center of the room and explained the process of a dueling piano bar. You can request a song if you accompany that request by some amount of money. One of the pianists will begin playing and singing your song (with back-ups by the other pianist as necessary) and should someone in the crowd not enjoy your song they can shut the whole operation down by upping the ante and paying the pianist any amount over what you paid to request the song. If this gets you really riled up and you can't live without hearing the end of your song you can pay even more money to get the pianist to finish your tune. Each of these bidding actions have less than polite names. So the music starts and I have to give the pianists credit for being able to sit down and play and sing whatever anyone felt like hearing with nothing in front of them besides laptops which I think may have had lyrics or chord progressions on them. Then someone requested "It's Raining Men" and dedicated it to Senator Buttars (I'll let you google that relationship on your own) and next thing you know there is some guy dancing on top of the piano complete with feather boa. There were a couple birthdays being celebrated so they also made some poor girl dance who clearly DID NOT want to be up there. On the flip side, a (drunk) mother and father were about to fall out of their chairs at the sight of their (drunk) dear daughter making a fool of herself on the top of a piano while her (most likely drunk) husband watched on. Ahhh...the family that drinks together...umm...stinks together?

The music was fine and entertaining enough, but the crowd was getting A. larger (once the reserved tables are full they let people in to stand along the walls until maximum capacity is reached) and B. louder and C. drunker so we were feeling more and more out of place. To keep up with the crowds, the dueling pianists were getting raunchier and raunchier with their commentary. We lasted an hour before, being the good little sheltered happy-valley-livin' Mormon kids that we are, we decided to take off. I'm sure no one was too sad to see us go since the people standing wanted our table, the people standing in line outside wanted in, and the waitress surely wanted someone who wouldn't try to order Sprite. As Bryce said, "It doesn't matter what else you put in them...apparently people go to bars to get drunk." Profound and very true my dear.

We went back to Gourmandise and Bryce ordered cheesecake and I got hazelnut cookies. Then we drove home, exchanged romantic gifties like the "most accurate technological thriller ever written" (Bryce) and the Illustrated Encyclopedia of Digital Photography (me), checked on our kids and went to bed.

Moral? Our style = bakeries, not bars.

Erin? You? at the Tavernacle? Really? -- Don't believe me? i have video on my phone...but no connecter cable thingy. And my card reader is still lost so no pictures either. Sigh.

5 comments:

texasmichelle said...

I'm curious - what's this technological thriller rumored to be accurate? I'll believe it when I see it....

M.M.M. said...

I love feeling like the dorky Mormons....

JoandDoug said...

If the Gourmandise is the bakery I'm thinking of, their porcupines and souris are to die for! Yum! Sorry that you didn't have a better experience at the bar. You're cool for even trying to go there. About the valances, if you can hem a strip of material, fold over the top to make an opening, and slide a curtain rod through it, you've got a valance!

Mike & Lauren said...

So stinkin' funny! You guys live the most intersting lives of anyone I know. Or at least you tell it like you do. :) That bakery sounds like a winner!

Marc said...

Sounds strangely familiar... like my weekend at HarryO's during Sundance. Somehow being the only sober person(s) around makes you feel strangely superior