At least that's what happened to one drinker, who, along with her friends, bought O'Quigley's shirts after throwing back a few beers. Natalie, a cute blonde, sported a green T over her yellow top. On her way to the bathroom, she got stopped by patrons at a couple of tables who wanted to order drinks. She took their orders, then moved on. Then, in the bathroom, she cut in line, saying, "Sorry, I work here."
On the night of my visit, the bar was steadily packed, which probably helped enable Natalie's antics. I went there with Research Assistants Cat and Eli, and we found that the newest POQ was just as we'd expected: a basic, TV-heavy sports bar. We decided that we'd go back — especially for the weeknight drink specials.
The bar is housed in the Hereford House's former banquet facilities on 20th Street. POQ took a weird, labyrinthine layout and an exterior more suited to a suburban office park and turned it into something more barlike. A set of stairs leads to the front door, and the glassed-in passageway — which includes garage-door-style roll-up windows — looks onto the street and is filled with four-top tables with small flat-screens.
Behind this area is the rectangular main room. The requisite Big 12 flags festoon its walls, which are painted forest-green, mustard-yellow and brick-red. I detest the Big 12 paraphernalia that is in every sports bar in KC, but POQ did mix it up a bit with Notre Dame and Irish national flags. A door by the bar leads to the 200-seat banquet hall, where a band was playing that night.
We went with the Friday special — $2.75 bottles of Corona — and grabbed a table near the bar. That brought about one annoyance: the ass-in-face factor. A couple of middle-aged douchebaggy guys in silky, short-sleeved, button-down shirts tucked into khaki shorts huddled with their friends at the bar, and the back end of their group spilled over onto our table. "You paid what for a loft?" brayed one of the leather-mandals-wearing guys. When an ass got a little too close to us, I contemplated slipping my unused Corona lime wedge into the guy's pocket. I managed to restrain myself. I'm often tempted to pocket-slip when people are blatantly standing too close. Once, a friend and I were sitting on a sofa at a bar when I sneakily stuck a spoon into an invasive guy's back pocket. Thankfully, he just laughed it off.
The group eventually left, and we continued to take in the atmosphere from our now butt-free zone. Unfortunately, the din made it hard to eavesdrop on other conversations. However, we could hear faint strains of the music, which was a random mix of Paula Abdul's "Cold Hearted Snake," Richard Marx's "Endless Summer Nights" and Beck's "Where It's At." As for the eavesdropping, it was limited to the quieter bathroom. As I sat in a stall that had a TV mounted from the ceiling, a couple of women talked about one of their friends, who sported short shorts. "That's all she has. She's the only one of my friends who can pull it off," one said. Then, as I walked out, in walked a zombie in a maroon top. Glassy-eyed, she stumbled her way into a stall.
After that interlude, I went over to meet the people at a neighboring table, mainly because they were drinking from a large tube of beer with a spout. That's when I met Natalie, of the T-shirt fame, and her friends Martin, Matt and Melinda. They told me that they were on their third tower o' Coors Light ($22 for about 8 pints of domestic). They wanted one filled with Red Bull and vodka, but the owner told them that there were "too many variables" in ordering such a concoction.
"This is the greatest invention in the world," 29-year-old Natalie said about the tube. "You don't have to wait for a waitress." Or a fake waitress, either. I asked how the beer stayed cold, and Natalie said the tap somehow keeps it drinkable.
"Our personalities keep it cold," Melinda added.
"Jen, would you like to see the reach-around?" Martin offered. He then slid his hand around the tube to pour himself another beer.
I asked how they all knew one another. "We're swingers," said 33-year-old Martin. Actually, they all used to work together at Enterprise Rent-A-Car. They told tales of trashed-out cars, drugs found in hubcaps and their repo duties — taking a spare key into sketchy neighborhoods to recover cars. Martin's worst-car-rental story involved a Boy Scout troop that took a 15-passenger van to Colorado. The previous returnee left a six-pack in the car, which the boys promptly drank, so Martin had to call the Boy Scouts to help the troop leader get his job back. Upon hearing the anecdote, a friend added: "Those dumbass Boy Scouts drinking warm beer. They need to always be prepared with ice."
A cheer emanated from a nearby table, so I went over to talk with this vocal group in their mid- to late 30s. Part of the group hailed from Brookside; a guy who gave his name as Ron Jeremy said he lives in Kansas with his wife. "I don't know what we're doing here," he said in a faux-snobby voice. "Just kidding. We live in 'JoCo,'" he added, doing the air quote thing.
"There are too many damn boobs here tonight," said a guy named Kyle, who was sitting by his wife, Ann.
"For old people like us, it's very uncomfortable," his friend Mike explained. "But hot weather brings out boobs."
"It's just a bunch of wannabes," Ron Jeremy said. I asked whether he was talking about KC or JoCo. Ron high-fived me while responding: "Love that! That's good! She slammed JoCo!"
Well, whatever the case, at least there's a POQ on both sides of the state line for wannabes — and for impersonating the staff.