Tuesday, March 15, 2005

A Gay Old Time

Kind of a gloomy day so we didn't do a whole lot except a bit of shopping. We stopped back at El Casa Tequila for another delicious margarita, had great ribs at El Torito's, and a sunset drink at the pool. Then we headed out to hit a few places.

313) Portugol

Right next door to the packed Senor Frogs is this large, almost cavernous, bar that caters primarily to Mexicans. While they have velvet ropes and bouncers at Senor Frogs, this place is almost always empty. Only four people in there when we arrived.

The nice wooden bar looks to be about 50 feet long and has a few semi-circle protrusions so you can fit in a few more people. Only 5 bar-stools though so it must be a stand-up kind of place. On the other hand there must have been 30 ashtrays. It does have a bar-rail for resting your foot. The front of the bar is red cement. There are large mirrors behind the bar with shelves for the liquor and glasses. There are also white kitchen-type cupboards with glass doors holding more glasses. Mexican artifacts and an old sewing-machine sit on top of the cupboards and the shelving above the mirrors. The remainder of the back wall is stone.

There is a pool-table and a working dartboard that was getting some action. The flooring is nice dark-wood planking. There are several blue-wooden tables with blue-wooden chairs with light-wood seats. There are two pillars a couple feet in diameter with a circular table-top built about waist-high for setting your drinks on. There were two jukeboxes but only one was playing (seems reasonable) and two televisions that were sitting side-by-side and both playing the same soccer game. There were a number of flags against the back wall but I only recognized the ones from the United States, Canada, and Mexico. I am guessing one is from Portugual and maybe one from Brazil because the place nextdoor, a steakhouse with no bar, is named Brasil.

This is a really nice place and for the life of me I can't figure out why Senor Frogs is always packed with lines waiting to get in and this place sits almost empty.

I had a Pacifico.

314) The Ranch

This is the back bar to Club Paco Paco but has its own entrance next door to El Toritos and across the street from Senor Frogs and Portugol on Carranza. The entrance to Club Paco Paco is on Ignacio L. Vallarta. Once again I prevailed upon my friend Sandy to do the honors:

The bar resembles a lunch-counter at a deli. Red ceramic tiles, top and front. The walls are blue cement. There is a spiral staircase that leads to a catwalk above a cage, or jailhouse at the backside of the dancefloor in the next room and from which you could get a good view of whatever show goes on later in the evening. There is spot-lit disco-ball hanging above the middle of the dancefloor. There are small, high tables with seating for two lining the walls on the side of the dancefloor. Two televisions hang from the ceiling for showing videos. There is a large painting of a nude hanging on the wall. Clay shingles hang above the catwalk and give the dancefloor the appearance of being a separate room. The dancefloor itself is black and white marble squares. On the side of the dancefloor opposite the tables is a rustic wooden staircase leading up to a second level. At the turn in the staircase is an old saddle slung over the railing.

My take on the place was that it was kind of like walking into a deli and then, if you walked into the next room, stepping into a set from 'Deadwood.'

I had a Corona and off we went.

315) La Noche

Blue flickering torches on Cardenas drew us into this elegant place. It had a nice wooden topped bar built on glass-bricks that were lit from behind with a black-light. The entire place had red walls. The back of the bar had a large, arched mirror with clear plastic shelving holding the liquor and glasses. The black-light from behind the glass-bricks gave the area an interesting glow. There were candles in brightly patterned margarita glasses sitting on the bar. On the end of the bar closest to the doorway was a large, free-form, reddish-orange glass candle holder that glowed from the light of the candle within. At the other end of the bar and in front of the doors to the restrooms were several tall mauve and lavender pillars with mexican turtles, armadillos, birds, etc., sitting on top of them. These are the toys that you buy from street vendors that have bobbing heads (the toys have the bobbing heads, not the street vendors).

There is a very large black wrought-iron chandelier with blue glass shaded lights hanging overhead. Several small lava lamps on the walls, kind of like lava lamp night-lights. The place was jammed with nice low round blond wooden topped tables and comfortable Sweedish style blond wood chairs that were quite comfortable. The floor was just cracked cement with a glass squared step that led up to a small alcove that held two small round tables and sofas on three sides. This was occupied by two young gentlemen who really should have been looking for a hotel room. The snacks were nice, pretzels and cheese.

I had a Pacifico and we headed home but didn't quite get there without stopping for another beer at Sweeny's. Unfortunately this stop didn't count because I had already been there. Someone had ordered a steak and it looked and smelled wonderful. He said he always ordered it there and it was in fact delicious. I am putting this on my things-to-do list.

Not a bad day, three bars hit to bring my total to 315 with 685 left to go. There are two bars in the process of being built that might be done before I leave. Actually, they are bars being built into restaurants that didn't have bars before. I like to think they are building them just for me.

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