I have a dream. I’m going to move to New Orleans and open up a DC-themed bar. I’m going to call it “In Session” and set it up somewhere posh where we can pick up tourists and commuters. For all the expats, it’ll be a true home away from home.
The first thing I’ll do is raze any historic buildings that are in my way and then build a faux-French Quarter style building that is, somehow, cold, brutalist, and unwelcoming.
There’ll be no music, and we won’t open till around 5pm. Closing time will be midnight. Inside, the bar itself will be dominated by serving stations and other equipment. It’ll be a long bar, perhaps inviting from a distance, but there’ll only be about five or six places to sit at any given time.
We’ll have one waitress who’ll be hired for her overbearing misanthropic qualities. She’ll also be allowed to take as many smoke breaks as she needs. And she’ll be a chain smoker.
Our bartender will be a young alt-goth type with cold, dead, animal-like eyes. There will be no regulars at In Session. It’s full price for everyone, and no freebies. All drinks will be watered down to the point where they’re largely non-alcoholic. DC expats will thrill as they order a high priced vodka tonic and receive a small glass of heavily iced tonic water instead. Just like home, they’ll say, pretending to get drunk on the tonic lest they show some sort of weakness. In Session’s fortune will be made off of the hope that at least one guy or gal at each table will fake getting drunk largely through the power of suggestion and then the others will have to keep up. Whew! Shirley’s really off the rails! DC expats will say as they receive their coke with a taste of rum in a four once glass filled with three ounces of ice.
The unblinking eyes of the bartender will follow them and, if they stumble or raise their voices, they’ll be cut off. Most people will be cut off after three drinks anyway. If asked to defend himself, the bartender will respond that the customer was “showing signs of inebriation.”
In the back will be Chef. He’ll be praised to high heaven on the menus with large paragraphs of text and testimonials but, after a few minutes, you’ll realize that every single item on the menu is a variation of chicken tenders. Appetizers will weigh in at around $10 and entrees will get up higher. The chicken will always either be raw inside or cooked to the point of being rubberized. Chef does not like complaints, either. Seriously. I mean, you can go back there if you want to…but I wouldn’t.
We’ll be closed during all the major festivals and if anyone walks through the door in any sort of costume we’re going to call the cops because, obviously, you’re there to rob us. All staff will come from the DC area, so it’ll always be in the back of their minds that they will end their days being raped, beaten, tied up, and left in the walk-in freezer for the weekend. Generally speaking, especially at night, staff will approach every customer as if they’re a potential threat.
There will be a balcony and outdoor seating, but those areas will always be closed. There’ll be no smoking inside and no loitering outside. For god’s sake, you can not take your drink outside, and anyone arriving with a drink from another bar will be refused service. If you complain, we’ll call the cops.
Domestic beer will be $5. Domestic includes Bud, Bud Light, Coors Light and Miller Light. Imports will range from $6 to $7. Imports will be any beer that is brewed out of state and/or is considered better than Bud. However, we will have nightly specials on Blue Moon, served with a giant unappetizing orange slice that’s been sitting out, uncovered, since the previous day. Blue Moon sales should represent a large portion of our revenue from suburban and urban DC expats and anyone else from similar locales.
Except for the Blue Moon, we will frequently run out of the “imports.” If a beer is off, the bartender will probably just laugh derisively and walk away. If forced to comp you the pint, he won’t take any action to correct the problem and will continue to serve the bad beer to other customers as you look on. This stems from an over-reliance on Blue Moon, which is always off, but there’ll be no arguing the point. Unless you want to get cut off.
Though I said no music (we will, however, have a stage that always looks promising), we will have a jukebox. It’ll have about six CDs and they’ll mainly be Yes albums, except none of the ones with the hits that you know.
No darts or anything of that sort. No sharp implements at all. We will have a pool table, but you’ll have to pay $6 at the bar to get the balls.
Our target clientele will be 40-something Washingtonians who’ll belly up and cast judgmental glares at people who order drinks but no food. We will also feature several near-urban (Virginia and Maryland suburbs) rednecks who will quietly mock you if you stand at the bar and show any signs of hesitation, or are a same-sex group with fewer than four people. There’ll also be a contingent of creepy Jeffery Dahmer types who are alcohol snobs of some ilk and will talk your ear off if you make even the slightest eye contact with them, and even if you’re deep in conversation with a friend.
Everyone will have their phones out and either conduct loud inane conversations or appear to be writing a novel in a text message window. These will mainly be any of the potentially attractive girls. The unattractive girls will be faux-lesbians who’ll throw themselves around the bar like they play a biker lesbian chick on TV as their full time profession.
The décor, of course, will be Congressional, in keeping with the “In Session” name. So the walls will be plastered with pictures of old white men. Establishment-chic. I’ll make sure that all the highly questionable conservative ones are signed with cheery messages about the bar.
So! If your extraordinarily overpriced apartment in NOMA is without power because Pepco is run by the writers of an unamusing early 90’s BBC sketch comedy, then pop on down to National and grab a flight to New Orleans. Join us at In Session – your home away from home! Where the Blue Moon is always suspiciously grey-brown. Would you like a big, ridiculous orange slice with that? If yes then let me know ahead of time because I don’t like fighting off the cockroaches to get to them so I’ll have to go get Chef.