The tourist crowd thinned after sunset yesterday, leaving a handful of regulars strewn in seats around the bar. Elbo Room reopened its ground floor Thursday, after it was forced to comply with ADA building codes.
A few minutes before I arrived, a woman was escorted out after throwing
ashtrays at the bartender. I took over her seat, around the same
oblong bar that wears carved names and messages in layers from the bar's inception in 1938.
"How is the room different?" I asked the guy next to me. If you ever
find yourself next to a charismatic guy named Kevin, he'll tell you stories of Super Bowl seats and $1500 steak dinners, introduce you to
everyone around, and buy you shots. "It was a whole lot like this, but more filthy," he said.
That's about how
another described the restrooms. "They're no longer legendarily awful."
At the smaller bar by the doors, a guy broke off from his friends to
show his moves, throwing in a Michael Jackson spin, hands in the air,
and a moonwalk at the finish. Considering he was good, it was an amusing contrast to the night's
soundtrack of George Thorogood, Iron Maiden, and Rolling Stones.
"Where are you from?" The female partner in a handsy pair asked the
bartender from England. "Detroit," he said, as he poured shots and
fetched a bottle of Bud.
A woman in a hippie skirt floated through the bar as heads turned. Kevin
left his seat to work the crowd. A homeless guy in a baseball cap saddled up to his
The bartender whistled to a coworker, pointed to the man, and drew a lasso in the air. "Get him outta here."
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