Party on, Michael Phelps

Consumer spending dropped during the month of Jesus’ birth, “economic growth” remains an oxymoron, as does “auto sales,” and Sacramento’s unemployment rate nears 10 percent.

Life sucks. Yet the local party economy parties on.

Consider Bistro 33 Midtown, Friday night: You can’t wiggle past the yuppies at the bar or finagle one of those swanky white-leather booths atop colorless quartzlike rocks for your life. I’m very late to meet friends, however, and my quote-unquote entourage already has downed their round and is moving on, a quaff-and-binge bar hop to its liver’s delight, no doubt.

Next stop, Mix, a new nightclub at the old Firestone building. It’s packed out front: VIP and G.A. lines deep with bodies, a crowd at the valet, a whole lot of heels, bros with white-collared button-ups circa 2002. Not in the mix, so we move on.

The club’s neighbor is De Vere’s Irish Pub, and its queue is longer, something out of Hollywood and Highland, not L and 15th streets. Hard to believe teenagers used to piss on these walls after Luna’s Café & Juice Bar and old Capitol Garage shows. We opt not to wait in line for $6 pints and, speak of the devil, roll ’round the corner to the new Capitol Garage.

It’s turntable reggae night. Mostly drinkers, a few diners. No room at the bar. A friend’s Long Island is stiff; my red wine is serviceable, like hotel toothpaste, and I don’t expect anything but.

We leave and the neighborhood is alive.

But this happening Midtown scene, modest shire of upscale revelry that it is, needs a name, like the nearby Handle District. I nominate “Phelps District.”

That’s right: Michael Phelps, the new Paris Hilton of domestic excess, a man of mythic—no, Olympic—proportions, already has an honorary key to this fair city, so it’s not totally out of line to dedicate Sac’s hottest strip of cruising and carousing to the aquatic legend, who pulls off 200-meter butterfly runs and water-bong rips with unparalleled ease.

He even takes strippers home to mom.

Dear Phelps: Red-state America has left you, a tried-and-true American hero, to the Fox News stocks. Sacramento won’t do you like that, Mikey. When K.J. awarded you Sac’s key, it was to our heart, and we’ll honor it through every keg stand, gravity bong and edible thong. So as a gesture of this city’s good faith, I hereby declare the 15th and 16th street corridor Phelps District. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.