Downtown Abbey: A night at the Avalon

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From the February 13, 2014 edition

I remembered the place as soon as I pulled up. I used to watch my gay friends sing karaoke there. I took it as a bad sign the awning still read “Q Bar” and there was plenty of parking. But it was only 11:45 p.m., I figured the EDM crew that was sure to show up for Avalon’s grand opening on Friday night wouldn’t roll in until later anyway.

We hustled past the bouncer and made our way to the bar. The front room of Avalon was pretty low key. A DJ was spinning R&B from a mezzanine that overlooked the room. Groups of people huddled around some high-top tables and sipped cocktails. We grabbed our drinks from the gracious bartender and made our way to the back. Apparently that’s where the real party was.

The room was smaller than I’d expected, and the music boomed through the system. You could feel the beat pumping from the DJ booth more than you actually heard it. The night started to look more promising. At the opposite wall of the door was the bar, adorned with Belvedere Vodka bottles and colored back lighting. Along one wall was a row of in-set booths that served as a make-shift VIP area populated by a few people looking bored behind their Hennessey bottle service bins. Small groups of people stood around and watched a few breakdancers get warmed up. It had the awkward feeling of a middle school dance. Do I watch, or join in? Do I act unimpressed? Nobody could seem to decide, so they all just went with “stand around.”

Around 12:15 the club finally started to get going. The Absolut vodka cocktail I was drinking made itself known. The dapper (and obviously intoxicated) man rocking a paisley shirt and burgundy ascot decided to quit seducing the mirror on the wall and make his way to the dance floor. He gave his best Jagger strut and pranced to the beat of some bass-heavy club banger. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to join or gaze in amazement.

I couldn’t stop watching him. I approached to see if I could take his picture for this column. I explained who I was and grinned ear to ear. I loved everything about his craziness. He slurred inaudibly and struck a pose. I snapped a shot of him, but before I could say thanks he started dancing around the only two girls on the dance floor.

The bartenders had done their job, and by 1:30 I was sufficiently sauced. I went outside to get some fresh air and contemplate my next move. My friend from the dance floor had come outside too. I walked up to say thanks, when I realized he was relieving himself in the alley.

“Hey, thanks buddy,” I said. “Thanks for helping me make my decision on what to do!”

He waved at me, obviously confused. I turned and headed to my boyfriend’s car. I like to end the night on a high note.

Downtown Abbey is a new Alive feature documenting a random night out on the town. It will run every other week.