We researched this recently at Grinders, the relatively new drinking establishment and pizza joint east of Grand on 18th Street. Its moving up on our favored-bar status list because its mellow, the staff is cool, and on our first unofficial visit late one night, we managed to sweet-talk the cook into frying up three of our absolute favorite foods: tater tots (we wanted to pull a Napoleon Dynamite and stuff some in our pants pocket for an even later-night snack), crinkle-cut fries (a form of potato surpassed only by the lattice-shaped fry) and homemade crab rangoon. According to owner and artist Jeff Stretch Rumaner, the kitchen of this 3 a.m. drinktorium stays open until 1:30 a.m. or so, which is delightful news for those in-it-for-the-long-haul lushes out there. Craving those tater tots again, we returned on the most recent First Friday and encountered an eclectic crowd: a young gaggle of chicks ironically dressed in 80s garb (even though they were probably, like, 2 years old in 1983), scenesters with artfully mussed hair, cops looking for a bite to eat between shifts, and white people with dreadlocks. Which brought to mind a few random questions. Is anyone else tired of people dressing ironically?
Also, on a related note, why are hipster guys so appealing, aside from the fact that we love those black-framed, intellectual-looking glasses?
And the white-person dreadlock: Why? So wrong. (And were not going to make out with you. You look like you smell of BO and patchouli.)
But we digress. As we wandered about, we were immediately accosted by Don and Craig, architects who work for HOK Sports + Venue + Event. In addition to designing sports stadiums, HOK does the planning for every major sporting event except the World Series.
What kind of planning do you do, and can you hook me up with tickets? the Night Ranger asked.
We control it all, Don said. Apparently, HOK takes care of logistics such as providing security, setting up additional seating, dealing with the press and erecting the tents.
Whats the most awesome thing youve seen in the sports world? we asked.
Every time a new stadium opens, its tremendously exciting, the soft-spoken Craig added. Its the culmination of all your efforts. But the grand opening of the Patriots Gillette Stadium in 2002 stands out. I had lived for two and a half years on-site with a bunch of Yankees, he said. It was actually very emotional. They played U2s Beautiful Day, which they had won the Super Bowl to, Don said. You had 86,000 people standing up, going nuts. Everyone was standing like the national anthem was playing. I started crying.
We were glad to hear that we werent the only emotional criers in the house, for when we heard this next tale of woe, we nearly got a tear in our beer. We were chatting with Brad, 22, and Mike, 25 grad students who are studying set building in the UMKC theater department and Dan, 29, who works at the Missouri Rep, or whatever its called these days. They relayed Brads recent dilemma.
Poor guy. He pursued someone, and she never mentioned she had a boyfriend, Mike told us.
We sympathized. Oh, no, we said. Its kind of like that Onion headline: Hot girl mentions boyfriend four hours into conversation.
He took her to dinner and paid for it, Dan said.
I got a peck, Brad said. We pondered whether the peck was a sign that she was Not Interested. It was on the lips. A peck is a peck ... come to find out two days later that shes dating this guy. He found out shes ... , Dan started to say.
One of those daters, Brad finished. Apparently, shes also 22 or 23 and doesnt want to have sex until shes married.
Thats not a bad thing, Brad said, before adding in a mock-plaintive tone, Im lonely. And thats why were at Grinders tonight.
With the guys, Dan said.
On the other hand, Mike, 26, and Megan, 24, had no such dating conundrum. Mike is an artist who just had a show at a local gallery, and Megan is the guitarist and vocalist for Hot Fruit. They met at Recycled Sounds where she works and theyd been going out for a few weeks.
So, whats the most random thing thats happened to you tonight? we asked.
Can I talk about marijuana? Mike asked. He told us how they were smoking at the gallery before they left. It was a small roach, and I was holding it to her mouth. She was holding a screwdriver, and I dropped it into her drink. I died. Very tragically hip, indeed. Which brings to mind another conundrum: Why is there a connection between smoking dope and getting the munchies? Obviously thats something well also need to research further. Our grease-stained grant proposal will be in the mail shortly.