That's what we found at Nick and Jake's, which is apparently the hangout for Parkvilleites. We stopped there for a much-needed (read: alcohol-absorbing) food break with research assistants John, Cece, Laura and Asa. We immediately noticed a highly inebriated group of natives dicking around in the bar area which, by the way, is kind of a cool space. The bar is oval-shaped and festooned with a ton of TVs, which befits Nick and Jake's sports-bar reputation. Anyway, the drunkoids consisted of two chickies and three guys being all buddy-buddy we wouldn't have been surprised if cries of "I love you, man" emanated from the triad. The guys tried to sing along with David Bowie's "Fame," but they didn't know the lyrics and just belted out "FAAAME!" every eight measures.
Then, something happened. One man stomped out, followed by one of the women. A few more took off, and soon the only one left was a guy in a light-blue denim shirt. He had the sort of voice that was set on bellow, so we heard him semi-apologize to the staff by saying "Listen. Sorry. I come here with my family ..."
A few minutes later, we were at the bar when we heard him ask, "Where the fuck did the whores go? All the fucking assholes left." Alas any family-man street cred that he'd built up was now gone.
When the obnoxious guy aggressively said something to us from across the bar, the Night Ranger went into don't-make-eye-contact mode. A woman behind us said: "See that guy? When he looks at you, you should laugh like you're laughing at him." The woman explained that Denim Shirt approached her group, hit on her friend and became rude when she rebuffed his advances. He even began with the line, "Hi, I'm really rich." Charming!
We needed a change of scenery and headed to the intersection of Vivion and Antioch roads, where two bars awaited us: Attitudes and Latitudes and its neighbor, Wetherbee's.
Because of the proximity, we noted crowd overlap be-tween these two 3 a.m. hot spots. Our first stop was Attitudes, which, despite the Jimmy Buffet-inspired name, was not a mellow, beach-themed bar though fake palm trees and neon-framed ocean murals were nice touches. Upon paying the $3 cover, we were greeted by the thudding beats of Nelly Furtado's "Promiscuous," played at an ear-splitting level. After getting Bud Light bottles, we eyed the interesting assortment of folks. Jersey-clad guys rocked it with MILFs in low-cut tank tops and form-fitting hoodies. Above them, one of those spinning balls flashed different colors and illuminated the dance floor. We saw a guy with blindingly white tennis shoes bend forward and rub his ass against a chick's crotch in a role-reversing moment. We appreciated this strike for gender equality in crotchal-assal contact. Behind them, on a raised platform, a woman gyrated alone to Eminem and Nate Dogg's "Shake That," and in one strippertastic move, she reached between her legs, grabbed the railing and bent over. We were impressed by her flexibility.
The rest of the crowd proved to be less flexible when it came to the business of going on record and being photographed. Then again, when you've been tackled by a cop for getting into a girl fight, as 22-year-old Kelly told us had happened to her, we wouldn't want our picture in the paper, either. Kelly, a blonde in an Old Navy hoodie, said the fight happened next door after another woman called her a bitch. That's one of those bar-fight trigger words that leads to hair pulling and foxy boxing. With that in mind, we decided to head next door to Wetherbee's, the scene of the fight.
Wetherbee's was definitely the best stop of the night. After paying a $5 cover, we entered a more laid-back atmosphere. The décor is diveish, with two pool tables to one side and dark-brown walls. A diamond-shaped mirror and blue and hot-pink neon accents recalled the '80s, as did the padded bar. A display case featured wooden houses and a stuffed bear dressed in leather-daddy gear.
We got our bottled beer (cash only; the complex credit card system would have involved a $2 transaction fee), staked out spots and watched DJ Hollywood, who was getting down on the dance floor. One man was getting into his partner, in that his striped shirt was half off, displaying his muscle in an elaborate mating ritual that would've met the approval of anthropologist Desmond Morris. Less sexay was the cell phone wedged into the top of a tube top.
In a semi-hidden nook, we encountered a few make-out couples. One woman was sitting on a bar stool, leaning back against the wall and looking provocatively at her male companion, who stood between her legs. Their nether regions were fused together, and they were practically doing it right there.
That raised an interesting point, though. We thought Wetherbee's was a gay bar. Indeed, rainbow-colored paraphernalia and a sign in the bathroom for drag king and queen nights attested to that fact. However, during our visit, the bar definitely drew a more mixed crowd. We met 28-year-old Shon, a nattily dressed guy in an orange sweater with a blue-and-orange plaid shirt underneath. Actually, we had to step around him because he was cuddling with 22-year-old LaToya against a pillar. After we introduced ourselves, Shon hugged all of us. They'd met at Orlando's 21 the week before, they said. Ah, young luv.
We also started chatting with Rosco, a mountainous 32-year-old in a jacket with a fur-lined hood. He's a producer with Autumn Wind records, which specializes in hip-hop. Then there was 28-year-old Santiago, who was sitting in the back with his buddy, 37-year-old Roberto. Santiago was sporting sunglasses, with a spike coming out of his upper chin. He and Roberto said they didn't speak English very well, but they did manage to tell us that they were there every Saturday night and knew a lot of people there.
Probably the most energetic person we encountered was a guy who gave his name as Char-Lee he told us to spell it that way "because I'm Asian!" He and his friend, 29-year-old Katy, work at one of the casinos. They had just been to a lame party and decided to go out to a place with more people.
Why was the party bad? "It was a pimps and hos party, and there were too many pimps and not enough hos," Katy explained. Yeah, we hate it when the pimp-to-ho ratio is off.
"Hey, if you want my phone number, you should just ask for it," flirty Char-Lee said. We passed on that and moved back to the bar for one more drink before last call.
As the music stopped and the lights came on, we spotted a man with black curly hair in a royal-blue polyester jacket that matched his royal-blue polyester shirt. He checked himself out in the diamond-shaped wall mirror on the dance floor before leaving alone.
As field trips go, the Northland has never disappointed. In the course of Night Rangering, we have stumbled upon a Boratish character and a sex-fetishist convention, searched for a 400-pound Elvis impersonator and met the hottest (read: most obnoxious) man in Kansas City.
Northland, you've done it again. We look forward to collecting more samples of oddities.