Friday night, I went to meet the famous Eve for drinks. She suggested three places, the last of which she described as a “dive bar where Chronicle and Good Vibrations employees drink shoulder to shoulder (and smoke indoors) with crack whores and professional alcoholics.”
Needless to say, I picked that one.
I arrived at the Tempest early, finding cheap parking a block away. As I walked down the most deserted alley in all of San Francisco, I wondered what the fuck I’d gotten myself into. I pushed open the heavy black doors and looked inside.
There I stood, in a pencil skirt and pearls in the middle of the front door as every eye turned to me. It was like a scene in a movie, where the music stops and bikers slowly place their beers on the bar wondering who let the stranger in. A smattering a bike messengers and alcoholic crack whores/pimps sat around the bar, drinking Pabst and not talking to each other.
I slowly approached the bar and selected the cleanest bar stool. The middle-aged bartender walked over to me and smiled. While slightly scary, I decided that these people could smell fear. If I acted as if I was in my element, no one would give me a second glace.
I sat back on my stool and ordered.
“I’ll have a Kettle one, straight up with two onions.”
“We don’t have onions.”
“Oh. Okay. Can I get a twist.”
“Well, we got some lemons in the back.”
“Oh, don’t do to all that trouble. I’ll just have a Kettle One, straight up.”
He then grabbed a small glass, a warm bottle of K1 and poured me a big shot.
“Um, actually, can I get some ice?”
This prompted a laugh from the bartender and a deep regret within me for not ordering a fucking beer. He scooped me some ice and wandered away. I slowly took in my surroundings as I slowly took in my drink.
The crack couple next to me was eating something loudly. I looked over to discover that it was…fried chicken. Fried chicken? Oh yes. It’s provided free, on a table in the corner. So, just a little heads up to any hobos reading my blog: save up $2 and you can get yourself a PBR and all the fried chicken you can handle.
Eve soon appeared, a flurry of funny stories and glorious gossip. And guess who joined us? Oh, just the official arbiter of who’s who in our fair city: Catherine Bigelow.
CBig hangs out at the Tempest. Go fig.
I made my case for an appearance in Swells, subtly begging for inclusion in the column that defines my Sunday, as CBig politely listened to my desperate ramblings. I finally departed, nearly three hours later, filled with warm vodka, a new found respect for the divest of dive bars and the slightest hankering for free fried chicken…