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Monday, November 05, 2007

Good Times Never Seemed So Good

After Friday's show, Lisa V. and her friend Sam invited me up the hill for an aprez performance drink (in reality, it was I who taxied them, since they came by bus, and I had driven "Red Dwarf" that evening).

On the way, we debated where to go. Most of the CapHill bars are either: A.) too loud for my 47 year-old ears; B.) pretentious hipster joints where the service is generally so glacially slow it should single-handedly counteract Global Warming; C.) gay clubs where 70% of the clientele are straight 20-something women (and therefore waaaaaaay below my acceptible age limit, as I generally try not to feign attraction for women young enough to be my own offspring); or D.) Ex-gay bars now frequented by Seattle's version of "the bridge and tunnel crowd" (i.e. suburbanites come to the Big City for a night of urban debautchery apparently not on the menu at their local T.G.I Fridays or Olive Garden.)

After eliminating options as fitting into one of the above-mentioned categories, we finally decided on the newly relocated Cha-Cha Lounge (generally fitting into Category B, but with somewhat better service), but the crowd outside was so large we figured the bar itself would be impossible to navigate. So, we ended up walking down the street to the recently opened Moe Bar.

Now, for those not up on your Recent Seattle History, "Moe" is a NOT reference to Springfield's own purveyor of mood-enhancing libations, but rather, to the iconic "Moe's Mo' Rockin' Cafe", which was pretty much Ground-Zero for Seattle's "grunge rock" scene during the late 1980's through mid-'90's. After a number of spectacularly disastrous attempts to turn the space into a funkadelicized urban dance club in the late '90's & early aughts, the place was rechristened "Neumo's Crystal Ball Reading Room" (a rather lengthy and pretentious appelation that even its own employees have shortened to the more pithy and evokative "Neumo's"), and returned to its original incarnation as a good old-fashioned rock club.

After opening, the owners refurbished a space just a couple of doors down, which has direct access to the Neumo's space, as a strictly drinking establishment, and which has undergone a couple of reboots the past couple of years, with the current "Moe's" being the latest incarnation of said.

I've only been inside a couple of times previously, but it struck me as a much better use of the old warehouse space: high open ceiling, lots and lots of brick, the lighting dark and subdued, but giving it a sort of old-fashioned feel, like how such an establishment must have felt in the days before electric lighting. Plus the booths are now much more comfortable than I recall from earlier iterations of the space, and although the music is somewhat loudish, it's not so onerous as to prevent one from having a casual conversation with the person or persons seated next to you.

Plus, the place wasn't packed to the gills, so we were actually able to grab a table with barstools upon entry, then a booth within about 15 minutes after arrival.

But, the thing that struck me most favorably was that at one point fairly early on during our patronage, the ENTIRE BAR - by this time comprised mostly of 20-something hipsters, with a smattering of late 30's looking rockers and maybe one or two people of "advanced years" (i.e. MY age), suddenly and spontaneously broke out into a sing-along rendition to the Neil Diamond classic, "Sweet Caroline" as it came on the jukebox (or more likely some employee's iPod), with everybody belting at the top of their lungs, and mostly on-key, and including enthusiastic imitations of the obligatory "WAH-wah-wah!" horn sections. Needless to say, Lisa, an unabashed Neil Diamond fan, was overjoyed.

And then, just as suddenly as it had begun the song was over, and everyone went back to their conversations, as if what had just occured was the most natural thing in the world; and for all I know, at "Moe's" on a Friday night, it may well be.

How can you not like a place like that?

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Posted byCOMTE on 1:19 PM

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