Friday, March 25, 2005

Farewell Mexico

I hit 350 bars for the year today and tomorrow I am going to be spending most of the day and packing for a very early, 5:30 A.M., departure to the airport. Probably have one last meal at a nice restaurant here tomorrow night, but no chasing after bars. They are begining to get hard to find.

348) The Sandbar

At long last the bar inside The Sandbar, on Olas Altos, has opened. I have been watching them construct it one corner of this second-floor place for several weeks now. The Sandbar itself has been around for a number of years but has just been sold and the new owners decided to put in the bar. The bar is a quarter-oval and the top is a green and red mosaic made of broken tiles in kind of a wavey pattern with the green on top. Embedded here and there are square orangish ceramic tiles with green lizards on them. The front edging of the bar is made of the same green tiles as the top of the wave. The front of the bar is bamboo. There is a palapa-like awning over the bar, just below the ceiling and hanging from it are three lights, two with orange glass shades and one with a blue glass shade. There is a black-light behind the bar but it wasn´t turned on. Behind the bar is also a nice dark-wood cabinet holding a supply of liquor. Above it was light-wood shelving with a built in rack for hanging glasses, and glasses were hung. The other shelving held more liquor bottles. There is a nice television behind the bar and some kind of a poker tournament was showing.

They still have a few kinks to work out at this place. For starters, the short end of the bar is right up against the narrow balcony that runs around this corner estabishment. That wouldn´t be so bad except that instead of permitting access to the bar they have a small table sitting on the balcony with a couple of chairs. As a result the half-dozen bar-chairs that they have are jammed so close together in the remaining area that seating is uncomfortable. The bar-chairs them selves are also uncomfortable having just a small round seat and a back that is at an uncomfortable angle. I hear they are going to replace them with larger, more comfortable chairs but I don´t know how they will fit them in.

Secondly, the bartender is not actually allowed to present you with your bill. He has to take the information to someone else who then gives it to you. This would not be a problem except that it took a good ten-minutes for this to occur. Now that means, after I have finished my drink, I have to wait ten minutes to get the bill.
Also, during this time there is nobody behind the bar as the bartender is, apparently, chasing down the guy to give us our bill. I also then had to wait for about another five minutes to get my change. Hopefully they will get this resolved soon or, I suspect, the bartender, who wasn´t too happy about the situation, will leave.

I had a rum and coke and headed across the river to the north side of town.

349) Hilo

Hilo, across from the Malecon, is one large bar. It is over-sized in just about every way imaginable, starting with the two-story tall statues that loom over the entrance and large front window which overlooks the malecon and bay. One is of a Mexican revolutionary and the other is of an even more scary looking Mexican woman. Inside are three slightly smaller statues. On either end of the bar are mounted Mexican revolutionaries (one is probably Zapata) and on the side wall is some kind of winged female figure who probably represents liberty or freedom or something.

There is a long bar with fairly wide marble edging all around and a plexiglass top over a bed of polished stones about 2 inches below it. I assume it is lit from below at night. The bar also serves as a dance-floor and there is a small wooden staircase leading to the top for easy access. While I was there, and I was the only customer, a bunch of young women came in just for a quick dance and to take each others pictures. The front of the bar is made of translucent reddish-orange tiles.

Behind the bar is a bank of drab brown coolers with a wood and marble shelf above them holding the liquor supply. The bartender needs to climb a small ladder, that can be wheeled up and down the length of the bar, to reach the bottles.

The walls are greenish, yellowish, and pink tiles except for the back wall which is covered with small, purple tiles. There are pictures of actors, actresses, and musicians on the walls, many of which are tinted to have that somewhat hallucinatory look of the 60´s. Kind of like Andy Warhol might have had a hand.

I had a gin and tonic and learned, after all this time that the name of the brand of Mexical gin that I favor translates to Black Bear.

350) Chez Sabor

Heading a bit further north and back about a half a block on Ortiz de Dominguez is this second and third story soul-food restaurant and bar. It has only been open for a short time and I hope it does well. A little more diversity in food types is always a good thing.

You enter by ascending a narrow, red-tile stairway. There also appears to be an elevator but nobody seemed to be able to get it to work. I only walked up one level and this is the smallest of them, at least in terms of seating for the customers. However, it is the one with the bar. The bar is relatively small and fairly narrow. Just room for about four barstools. Pretty much a plain white decor with white shelving behind to hold the bottles and glasses. Just a place to hold people waiting for tables I would guess. I was told that the upstairs area offers a beautiful view of the bay and is especially pretty at sunset. From what I could see from the second level I would guess it is true. They are lucky that even though they are about half a block from the malecon and the bay nobody has built anything taller in front of them.

They didn´t have any tonic so somebody ran out to get a bottle. I must be one of the only people in town that drinks gin and tonics because the guy came back with but a single small bottle, just large enough for one drink. I suppose if I had ordered a second one he would have had to run out again.

I had a gin and tonic and headed back to the south side of town for dinner.

Hoo Rah!! I hit my goal of 350 before leaving Mexico and now have only 650 left to go. I think I am taking next week off from my quest to get caught up on 6 weeks worth of unattended business back home. I have been informed that my cable service has been cut-off because my bill is over-due. Guess I wasn´t able to record the begining of the new season of Deadwood.

A few final comments about my stay in Mexico. First, I have to go back and change the names of a couple of bars.

The 2 for 1, and the bartender there assured me that this was indeed the name, has now had its grand opening and now appears to be Carl´s Jr. I am going to double check on this today, but that is what the new sign on top of the place says.

Chivas Guadalajara is actually Tonto Sport´s Bar. The big Chivas Guadalajara sign hanging behind the bar was in support of a soccer team with that name.

Second, my comments about the so-so hamburgers at Sweeny´s were based upon second-hand information. I have since eaten there three times and found the food to be exceptionally good and reasonably priced. I haven´t tried the hamburgers there though. I will revise my entry accordingly.

Third, just because a place has a sign that says, ¨Restaurant and Bar¨ does NOT necessarily mean it has a bar. It may just mean it serves liquor. Much time was spent walking down roads and up steps when when I spotted this sign and found no real bar. Needless to say I could not have a drink at such an establishment and count it.

Adios until I post again.

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