Quarter-draw night at Harpo's takes us back....

Our Quarter Life Crisis 

Quarter-draw night at Harpo's takes us back....

Even though we've previously heckled Harpo's for being rich in fratmosphere, we've recently realized that many of our own embarrassing drunken antics over the years have been inextricably linked to that bar. For example, it was the only bar in town that rejected our obviously fake ID back in college. Later, after we were legal, there was the requisite make-out session with a college acquaintance. And we'll never forget the time our friend Matt threw up all over the door at Harpo's on his 21st birthday -- he was running outside and didn't quite make it -- and the bouncer, whom we knew from school, nearly stuck his hand in it.

Then there was the most humiliating incident of all. Just a couple of months ago, we were there with some coworkers for happy hour on the patio and, damn them, they just kept buying shots. Afterward, we went to meet our old college buddies -- including door-puker Matt --who were in town for their annual guy weekend, Bitchfest '03. This bar-bitch was pleased to have been named Honorary Bitch for the weekend, and like all good Kansas City tour guides, we accompanied our visitors to Stroud's for dinner before continuing with the evening's festivities. Um, long story short, someone then threw up in the elevator of a Plaza hotel, much to the disgust/amusement of her out-of-town friends. Gawd. However, the pukefest was quite cathartic, and we proceeded to Harry's where -- of course -- we ran into our then-crushee. The crushee invited us up to his place, but, sadly, we had to decline because we were gross and pathetic.

So it was with some trepidation that we returned to Harpo's for quarter draw night (8:30 to midnight on Tuesdays). We cautiously approached around 10, and there was already a small line outside. The inside was claustrophobic, so we made our way to the patio, which is nice and huge. At the bar, a guy holding a dollar kindly bought our first round; though it was just 50 cents, the gesture was appreciated.

Because of a promotion that night, Coors Light was the quarter draw of choice. Kelley Hull, one of the bartenders who works on Tuesdays, later told us that it's usually Natural Light and that they usually go through thirty kegs. ("We run out a lot," she said.) Sure enough, we heard a guy complain at 11:30 that the bar had run out of Coors and was serving Natty Light. That didn't stop the populace from filling large trays with 10-ounce, white, plastic cups for their own personal hoardage.

Despite the outdoor setting, cologne lingered in the air, along with pheromones and the haunting melodies of early to mid-'90s frat ballads like "More Than Words," "Jane Says" and "Walking on the Sun." Research Assistant remarked on the meat marketability vibe, so we decided to wend our way through the overwhelmingly white, sardinelike crowd to check it out. The guys were clean-cut and wearing either silky, black, button-down, short-sleeve Express for Men shirts, more casual polo shirts or ironic hipster T-shirts and shorts. The women were mainly in frilly, colorful tops carefully calibrated to look "hot" but not "trying too hard."

We asked various patrons about the hookup vibe. "A little piece of ass never hurt anybody," said Jeff, 23. He offered to demonstrate his pickup line of choice: "Turn around." Knowing that was no good, yet curious for journalistic purposes, we hesitantly did so and got a slap on the ass. Yeeeah, we're sure that's a hit with the ladies. Now, don't touch us.

As we queried more people, our conversations were interrupted by Brian, 25, who claimed to have "fucked a chick in the ass" in the alley that ran by the patio. "I came crazy hardcore in there," he ejaculated. Um, OK then. Good for you ... we think. More randomness occurred when one of our interviewees asked us if we wanted some peanuts, then pulled a handful from his pocket. Again, nice gesture. We resisted the urge to crack a joke about having his nuts in our hand.

According to bartender Hull, the Tuesday-night crowd consists of a good mix of people. "I wouldn't say they're all fraternity, but they're college-type kids," she said. "They're about 21 to 24. I'm 26, and they feel like they're a lot younger than me."

We're trying to come up with appropriately sordid come-ons we could drunkenly slur at future quarter-draw outings. Perhaps, "Hey, guy. How 'bout we have our own initiation ceremony and elevate you to active status"?

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