Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Cleaning Out The Southside

Well, not really cleaning out the southside, but pretty much every bar that is open during the day. Even the ones I went to today pretty much didn´t open until at least 4:00 P.M. or so. Tomorrow I am hitting the Marina again and then a few late nights in town. Still shooting for 350 before I leave here (having already passed 325, my previous goal) but we shall see.

329) Cuate´s Sports Bar

It looks like a bit of a hole-in-the-wall from outside but is is kind of a deep, narrow place that is bigger than it looks. It is on a busy street, Insurgentes, and I have walked by it about a dozen times and never seen it open before. A single balloon with ¨Good Luck¨ written on it floated forlornly behind the bar. Maybe this bar is just re-opening under new management. The very attractive young lady attired in a brown fringe mini-skirt, abbreviated and tight black top, and black spike-heeled boots (I barely gave her a second glance) sitting at the bar eating cucumber slices seemed to be the manager. She was the one who took my order for a beer and then passed it on to the woman standing behind the bar (and about a foot away from me). She also seemed to be in charge of the jukebox, which looked new. The pool-table looked new as well and there were three young guys playing. There wasn´t any light above the pool table and only a few white globe-lights mounted high on the walls around the place. Looked like it would be too dark to shoot pool at night.

The bar itself was a massive cement affair painted one of the uglier shades of brown that I have ever seen. The bar stools were plain wood and were most definitely not new. But then neither was the brown bar. Their was a fairly nice brown shelf with a mirror back behind the bar that held a rather limited selection of liquors and a few glasses.

The area with the jukebox and pool-table was set off by a yellow brick archway. The floor was nicely tiled with a light-brown marble pattern. The walls were a light-yellow wash with some pink designs; flowers, swirls, dots. There was one white wall with a bunch of names painted in yellow that were either meant to be decorative or just the undercoating for the yellow wash to come.

I had a Corona

330) Tono´s Taco Bar

This is an upstairs place on the same street, Serdan, and one block from Rizzo´s, the large supermarket-department store. It has two ancient pool-tables and an equally ancient fooseball table. With fooseball tables, kind of like pinball machines, ancient means classic. The pool-tables, on the other hand, were not classics. The bar was laminated formica with a wood-grain pattern. The front of the bar was painted a slightly less ugly shade of brown than the last place but pretty much hidden from view by the overhang. The foot rest was wood-topped cement. The metal bar-chairs had either a metal or a wood back to them and were topped by tan vinyl cushions. I got the one bar-stool that had a thicker cushion.

Somewhere in the back there was a parrot, or someone doing a very good imitation. I couldn´t find the parrot. There were a few guys at a back table playing dominoes.

The walls and ceiling were all a light-pink painted plaster with the paint peeling off the ceiling in the front. There were small, hollowed-out logs holding a variety of plants hanging from the line of cement pillers that ran the length of the room and from the side wall as well. There were plenty of overhead fans and plain industrial fluorescent-tube lighting.

I had a Pacifico

331) Roma

I headed across the bridge to the north side of town, but just barely. Right along the river on Encino is this interesting establishment. It has a lovely view of the river and from the balcony, and end chair at the bar, where I sat, you can also see one of the older automobile bridges across the river as well as the higher, new pedestrian bridge. I can´t remember what the name of this place used to be, but it is newly re-opened and the decor has changed a bit. It is so new in fact that my beer was only cool, not cold. I got it for free though because I was the first customer they had after just getting their liquor license. Timing is everything.

The bar has a nice yellowish-ivory marble-like tile top and facing on the overhang. The front is brick and the bar-rail is a narrow metal pipe. The bar-chairs are elaborate wooden constructed affairs with leather trim and cushioned seats. Behind the bar are glass shelves. The bottom one is supported by wooden supports and the top two are supported by glass bricks. They are surrounded by Christmas lights. Only two bottles were on the shelves and they were decorative Italian liquor bottles, the kind that look like military figures in fancy dress uniforms. Also behind the bar are clocks set to Cannes, Habanna, Venecia, Hollywood, and local times.

They show movies here, mostly art films, Fellini and the ilk. I did see a Felliniesque movie here last year that had Mel Gibson playing an FBI agent who had a third arm surgically removed from his back. He says in the movie that when he was a kid he could play the accordian and wipe his ass at the same time. Name of the movie was ¨Million Dollar Hotel.¨ For another film about someone who gets, and then loses a third arm see ¨The Dark Backward¨ with Judd Nelson, Bill Paxton, and Wayne Newton.

The walls of Roma are painted with lovely murals of, surprise, Rome. The back rooms contain a most electic art collection. This place is most certainly worth a visit if you are ever in town.

I had a slightly warm, but free, Corona.

332) Los Amigos

A second story bar that announces via a sign on the stairwell that it is a ¨Friendly Gay Bar.¨ It seemed to be as I chatted pleasantly with the bartender, Charlie, and the owner, Arturio (Charlie has been Arturio´s boyfriend for three years now). The bar is a huge thing that has seating for at least 50. It is shapped like two rectangles, a large one with a smaller one abutting it to the rear. Just plain wooden stools covered with patterned cloth, but lots of them. A large glass/plexiglass shelf hangs above the long rectangular section of the bar with an impressive collection of liquors. The bar top is chocolate-brown tile and the edging is wood. The facing is a dark-brown paneling.

There is a very nice, two-level outside deck with a nice view of the surrounding buildings and trees and a not so nice view of the construction site immediately adjacent. White Mexican-style cowboy hats hang from the ceiling as do numerous rainbow buntings and red, white, and green plastic pennents. Stuck in the iron grill seperating the deck from the main area were several rainbow-colored umbrellas. There were a bunch of Mexican pictures on the wall behind me, chickens, sombrerros, and pottery. Across from me were a few pictures of Zapata and his band of followers. A gladiator movie was playing on the television.

I had a Corona, served with Cheese Doodles and called it a day.

Only four today. I had planned on going out again later in the evening but didn´t get around to it so now I have some catching up to do. Still, 332 down and only 668 left.

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