Just say no, bro
“Why are you wearing glasses? Are you on drugs?”
The gelled-up fella leans over the bar and again barks at the woman sporting an arm tattoo and prescription lenses in 1950s frames.
“Are you on drugs? Because I am.”
“Big-time,” she says, deadpan, and slides three Irish car bombs to a nearby patron.
It's 2:30 on Sunday afternoon, but KBar is brimming with cologne-soaked bros and pretty, plastic gals. They've come out for the K Street Krawl, a St. Patrick's Day pub-crawl celebration hosted by nine of the struggling city center's drinking establishments.
The Krawl seems like a hit so far. But it's certainly not my style. It's pulled in the slurring, sloppy crowd that I've been avoiding since junior year in college.
You know the scene: The guys' shirts are a little too tight. The girls' faces a bit too orange. Top 40 songs blasting, oppressive, over the sweaty venue's sound system. You can't easily hold a conversation in here, but you can belt out your favorite party calls—“Woo.” “Yeah.” “Fuck yeah.”—or sing along with Taylor Swift when the moment calls for it.
Some bars are more palatable than others. Gallagher's Irish Pub features live music. Tequila Museo Mayahuel, salsa dancing and cheap Mexican beer. District 30 is a nightmare, but it's an empty nightmare this afternoon, so you can at least sit and reflect in peace under the green disco ball on what brought you to make the decisions you've made with your life, and why you do these things to yourself.
As the sun goes down, the tone of the Krawl takes on something of an edge. Shit talking in bathroom lines. Scuffles in the streets. A dark BMW swerving up and down “The Kay,” carrying with it a hint of the pepper spray spewed forth by someone, somewhere, between Dive Bar and Social Nightclub.
The flavor of the evening is encapsulated for me by a young man named Rich, who stops me as I'm walking through Pizza Rock.
“Hey, are you an accountant?” No, I’m a journalist. “You're an accountant. Are you a Jew?” Nope. “What are you?” Atheist, I guess. “No, I mean nationality.” For the sake of simplicity, I answer, Polish. “Oh. You're a Jew.”
I ask Rich if he thinks it's OK to ask people that kind of thing, and he responds, “What are you going to do about it?” Write about it, I say.
This is when a large man sidles past us on his way to the bathroom. “You hear that?” says Rich. “He apologized to me.”
I think Rich is trying to make a point, and I think that point is that he is alpha as fuck. But so are all of the other bros here, so I'm having a hard time understanding how this all shuffles out. We can't all be prom queen, can we?
As I'm saying goodbye to Rich and his crew, he recommends that I go to a nearby club, and to tell someone named Shorty that he sent me. I nod. Thanks, Rich. But if it's anything like this bro Krawl, I'm going to pass.