It was in the low 70s — breezy but pleasant — as my wingman and I walked up starry Hollywood Boulevard. The air was crisp, and the street was alive with the clicking of high heels, the kind of loud talking that alcohol consumption causes, the crackling of different languages, and Latin guitar wafting up from the nearest club. We passed a gaggle of squealing girls, a couple speaking feverishly in French, and a couple of guys clearly on the prowl. And that was just in the first three minutes.
Hollywood has its fair share of sparkling, beautiful beaches, and when one is in need of a sparkling, beautiful beverage, there's no choice but to hit up Hollywood Boulevard. You'll see everything from steamy salsa-dancing to short skirts; you'll glimpse some of the finest plastic surgery in all of South Florida; you'll find a mix of shenanigan-filled Irish pubs, sultry Latin clubs, meat-market dives, and even a jazzy bohemian beer joint.
Coyotes Bar: With Coyotes' song selection (a Jay-Z/Linkin Park mashup) throbbing in our heads, wingman Beard and I trotted past the dancing, lip-synching bouncer and into the bar. The patio area and relatively small indoor space were divided by clear sliding-glass doors, the kind that, when shut, dogs and slobbering drunks run directly into. A long mural of happy partiers ran on the wall directly above the wave-shaped bar. A low-lit brick and wood theme dominated the décor; candles spotted the few tables; hookahs sat at the ready. Girls' soccer played on TV, but the collection of pretty partiers paid it no heed.
We took a seat at a high, round table and ordered a couple of bourbon and Cokes from the ponytailed bartender.
"How long has this place been open?" I asked the dark-haired bartender, Amir.
He considered. "A long time."
"Any relation to Coyote Ugly?"
His jovial look turned serious. "No. None. They were around before us, but we're doing our own thing. The only similarity is the name."
Well, patrons of this Coyotes' certainly weren't ugly. Nor were they sober. When the new Sean Kingston song blasted from the speakers, a tall woman in a sheer, peacock-colored outfit and high heels shuffled to the empty floor space. She heavy-stepped around in a pattern of drunken, mechanical dance steps.
"There are more shaved heads here than in a Tibetan monastery," said my friend, Beard, stirring his bourbon and raising an eyebrow at a group of guys who had just walked in. Many of them wore tight, shiny T-shirts and had closely cropped hair. Since all available women in the bar were preoccupied with other men, the guys just sort of hung out and tried to look cool.
A young woman in a chic red dress leaned on her barstool until she fell directly into a guy who could have passed for Jon Gosselin if Jon Gosselin were better-looking. I overheard a big fellow tell a methodically chain-smoking, dark-haired girl these charming words: "Well, do you want to go home with me or not?" Meanwhile, a bleached blond probably in her early 40s came stumbling in, turned a few heads with her massive rack, and then moseyed up to the bar. When she attempted to high-five the bartender, she missed his hand. Twice. At that point some of the bored Tibetan-monk guys had taken notice of this buxom potential victim and began to swarm around the patio like sharks.
It was time to drink elsewhere. As we exited, we couldn't help but notice that the burly bouncer was still lip-synching.
PRL Euro Café: PRL is a narrow venue with a few chairs at the front and a long bar extending along the right wall. I had to tit-punch and bow just to get through the sardine-packed bohemian crowd clustered around the bar and leaning against the walls. Speaking of which, the brightly colored walls — tangerine and red — were smattered with eclectic artwork. One wall featured brightly colored photos of naked Barbie dolls arranged in highly artistic (read: sexually explicit) positions. The other was composed of spray-paint-style portraits of sexy rock icons, including Jimi Hendrix.
Jay, the Polish owner, was tall and ultracool and spoke with a thick accent. He explained to me that PRL is the "sexy Communist name for Poland" and that the bar boasts a shitload of tasty beers from all over the world (Scotland to Spain, Brazil to Bulgaria). He also explained that the spray-paint portraits and naked Barbie photos were part of the first Friday art show.
I pointed to a giant bird cage with several naked Barbie dolls inside. "Is that part of the art show too?"
"No, that's mine," Jay said, offering no explanation.
I didn't question that at all and repressed my urge to set the dolls free.
As I pushed past leather-jacket-clad hippie kids, I studied some of the Barbie-doll photos. A photo of a contorted Barbie in a cage was titled "Jailbait Barbie." I eyed the price and must have smiled, because a square-jawed gent in glasses interrupted me.
"You're not going to buy that crap, are you?"
"No — as much as I like Bondage Barbie, it doesn't fit my home décor," I said.
Then, before he had a chance to get away, I asked him, "What brings you here tonight?"
"I just come here for the beer," the guy said. He admitted to being a longtime regular — confirmed when Jay saw me talking to him and rolled his eyes. "Plus it's the only bar around here that's not Latin or white trash. This place is mostly wannabe hippies."
"Are you a wannabe hippie?" I asked him.
"Sort of — not really," he considered, then shrugged. "I'm a doctor."
"What?" And my mother said I'd never meet a nice doctor if I kept hanging out in bars.
"A gynecologist," he said matter-of-factly. "People say, 'Oh, you have the best job ever.' "
"Most people only go to the gyno when something's horribly wrong down there," I said.
"Exactly!" the gyno shouted. "Plus, I'm gay, so being up to my elbows in vagina isn't necessarily fun. Do you even know what kind of action 80-year-old women are getting these days? Thanks, Viagra."
Whiskey Tango All American Bar and Grill: We walked in to the sounds of an atrocious cover band playing "Summer of '69" and grabbed a high table since all the booths were packed full of dudes in Ed Hardy shirts. The place reeked of newness and carefully arranged décor — it had brick walls, lush, black-leather booths, immaculate tables, TVs, pool tables and dartboards, and little signs ("This is a no bitching zone" and "Water on road during rain"). Two bars: One was modest-sized with TVs hanging overhead; the other was situated directly in front of the fuchsia-soaked stage. A short man with dark hair saw me writing and wondered if I was penning a novel.
I answered his question and asked him how he liked the bar.
He told me that it was new — just a couple of months old — and that he came here often. He knew the bartender and could occasionally convince him to do tricks. He also seemed ecstatic just to be talking to me.
"Do you know what 'whiskey tango' means?" I asked with a smirk.
"Yes, but it's kind of racial," he said very seriously. "It means 'white trash.' But don't put that in your story. They don't mean it in a bad way." The guy was of vague Asian descent and seemed cautious, as though he might offend me.
"Oh, of course, the 'good' white trash," I said.
"I told a friend of mine what it meant, and she thought I was calling her white trash. She got very angry," he said timidly. "She was drunk." While he was detailing what sounded suspiciously like domestic violence, he also happened to point out the place's manager to me.
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I sauntered over just as the guy, a dark-haired young man named Bob, was cramming a huge piece of fudge into his mouth.
I very seriously asked him if he knew his bar's name meant "white trash."
He chewed for a few thoughtful seconds before giving a big, chocolatey smile. "Of course — that's the whole point! We have fun."
I could deal with that — by hopping up to the bar and snagging a round of blue-collar beers. When in Rome...