Life » Barfly on the wall

My name is...


Shortly after Thanksgiving, a new bar opened on St. Paul Street, a few doors north of Tapas 177. A week before Christmas, it still had no name.

            It's about time we stepped in.

            The owner, John Rebis, clearly needs help, and not just because his other bar is Paradise Alley. Rebis is trying to make this new establishment respectable --- you know, like the kind of place people over 25 can be seen at and retain their self-respect.

            That ain't The Alley; never has been.

            Short of closing The Alley down, Rebis seems powerless to keep the swarms of parasitic post-teens from swarming the dance club in search of cheap beer and booty. "The kids took it over," I heard him lament while sitting beside him at his nice, new bar on a recent Thursday night.

            The new space has been designed and decorated not to necessarily discourage 21-somethings from patronizing it, but to attract patrons with more sophisticated tastes. It's long and relatively narrow, with a very high ceiling, finished wood flooring and furnishings, dark wood-paneled walls, and a lot of exposed brick.

            This last attribute inspired Rebis to consider calling the bar "Brix" --- a bad idea. For one thing, it invites comparison with The Brickyard Pub off upper South Avenue --- a baby step, at best, in any attempt to distance the place from the shallow scene at the Alley.

            For another, it's stupid.

            The classy atmosphere subtly encourages the imbibing of liquors and wines (the lack of beer on tap is another, not so subtle, enticement). Rebis may have had this in mind when he thought of naming the bar "Toasted Head" (its legal name, as far as the county clerk's office is concerned). Either that, or his own head was in a toaster at the time.

            A wine-tasting term I assume alludes to a slightly burnt flavor, "Toasted Head" would inevitably be shortened, in common parlance, to "The Head." Need I spell out why potential customers, particularly men, would be reluctant to ask their buddies to "go to The Head" with them?"

            Given the preponderance of plastic plants, I suggested Rebis call the bar "Evergreen." He ignored that joke, but I've got a few more.

            Rebis has hired the same DJ company that provides The Alley's music to spin CDs at his new place on weekends. This is an unfortunate miscalculation. Here on the eve of 2003, there is nothing cool or sophisticated about a song like "Some Kind of Wonderful." Ditto anything by John Cougar, Mellencamp or no. That crap has ruined enough wedding receptions; there's no need to hear it before the ceremony.

            If his new place is going to sound like the Alley, Rebis may as well make the name do the same. How about "Mahogany Hallway?"

            The bar will eventually serve food, though the type of grub is as much an open question among the staff as the name of their place of employment. I imagine this will make the bar much like Lola, the long, narrow Monroe Avenue bistro opened by another bar proprietor with less-posh businesses in his portfolio. Why not name the place after another famous transvestite, like RuPaul. "RuPaul on St. Paul" --- now there's a visual.

            All things considered, it's the bar's address that will ultimately keep the Monroe Avenue morons away. And its proximity to Tapas will help, too --- it can mop up the spillover from that popular eatery.

            Perhaps Rebis should follow Tapas 177's lead and incorporate his bar's street address: 187, as in Snoop Dogg's lyric from "Deep Cover," "It's 187 on an undercover cop."

            "Hello, and welcome to Broadus 187. What can I get your punk ass? Gin? Juice? Or the happy hour special, gin and juice?"

            On second thought, scratch that. Good luck, John. You're on your own.