It saddens me to tell you this, but Tango, my favorite bar, has closed. I've been going to Tango for nearly a decade, and I've written about many a jerk from there over the years, but the bar down the block from my house closed its doors for the final time last Saturday night.
I interviewed a 34-year-old bartender who had been working there since his early 20s. He told me there were five reasons why Tango lost a ton of business over the years. The first is unfortunate, as the owner's 40-year-old daughter passed away suddenly. The other four angered me:
No colors, eh? I guess Club 360 is the home of the Aryan brotherhood or something, but no matter - I'm sure the ghost of Martin Luther King Jr. will come into the owner's home one night and strangle him.
The Parx patrons also bother me. They're just zombies who sit at slot machines and mindlessly pull levers back and forth. I'm not against gambling because I feel like people should have the freedom to whatever they want, but it's just depressing to see these half-animated corpses rotting away in front of the machines.
Parx ruined two of my nights over the past three years, so it wasn't a big deal until now - because Parx is one of the reasons why Tango is finished. Parx is about a 5-minute drive from Tango if there's no traffic, so people just decided to go there instead. And why not? Drinks are cheap or free if you're near the gambling areas, plus the place never closes. And for those who like the bar scene, there are actual bars in Parx.
Oh, and there are also so many more people there, so there's a better chance of scoring with a hot individual of the opposite sex, rather than a biker who looks like Santa Claus (not that there's anything wrong with that).
2. Bands: I hate bands. They're loud and obnoxious. They play crappy music that only sounds good to drunken people. And they're apparently expensive.
Tango's bartender told me that his bar couldn't lure in any quality bands because they all cost too much. They apparently used to be cheaper, but Parx has been paying the good bands tons of money to play there.
No more bands meant no more girls because girls apparently follow bands wherever they go. No more girls meant no more guys because guys follow girls wherever they go. No more guys meant no more money for the bar.
I'll never understand why girls follow bands anyway. Like I said, they play terrible music. Plus, they're way too loud. I want to actually talk at a bar; not have my ears bleed upon hearing a crappy cover of a crappy Maroon 5 song.
3. DUI Laws: Tango, which used to be known as Whiskey Tango and then was known as Philly Four and then JC Washington's House, was a huge bar when I turned 21. Everyone went there; it was the place to be in Northeast Philly. My friends and I used to drive 10 minutes just to go there almost every weekend. Now, apparently no one wants to drive there.
The bartender told me that dropping the Pennsylvania DUI limit to .08 was a big factor in the bar's decline, as younger people opted to stay more local. I don't know what it driving limit used to be, but unless you're an a**hole member of MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), I think you'll agree that the .08 limit is too low.
According to a blood-alcohol calculator I found online, I'd be at .081 if I had six beers over three hours. That's nothing. I've consumed way more than that amount in that span, and I've been completely coherent. This may anger the idiots associated with MADD (who won't admit that there are five times more drunk walking accidents than drunk driving ones, per Freakonomics), but I say that the limit should be raised back to what it was. I don't know what it was, but 0.8 sounds more reasonable than 0.08. I feel like I could drive perfectly well at 0.8***.
***Side note: I feel like I should say that the stupid BAC calculator I found doesn't calculate anything over 0.5 for some reason. The best I could do is 24 beers in three hours, which is 0.47. However, when I input 22 beers in one hour, I get 0.46. So, I can drink 22 beers in one hour, and then two more beers over the next two hours and be even drunker than I was before? That makes no sense. I feel like the MADD a**holes are manipulating the BAC calculator.
At any rate, these previous three factors are why most bars in this area are losing money. "If you gave me a million dollars, I would not open a bar in Northeast Philly," the bartender said. Of course, there's yet another reason why Tango failed...
4. Weird People: The bartender conceded that normal people who went to Tango were weirded out by some of the regulars. He wouldn't name any names, but I've definitely written about some strange Tango patrons over the years, including...
Tango Stalker - A creepy guy who stalked girls and made Alan Rickman impressions for me in the bathroom.
Christmas Tree Man - A guy who complimented my friend Adrienne by saying that she looked like a Christmas tree.
Racist KKK Bikers - Douche bags who nearly jumped my friend Josh because they thought he was Jewish when he wouldn't give them money.
Drunkest Woman Ever - An incredibly intoxicated woman who charged $1.75 for blowjobs in the parking lot.
With weirdos like that hanging around the bar, it's no wonder that normal people went elsewhere. I may eventually do a future "where are they now?" entry about these strange people, but I want to concentrate on Tango's final night this week.
Unfortunately, aside from Santa Claus, none of those aforementioned weirdos were at Tango on its final night. This greatly disappointed me. I figured there would be some sort of big farewell, with all of the former characters coming back like in a series finale of a long-running TV show, but that just didn't happen. I did, however, find some new jerks.
1. Bongo Bongo
I walked into the bar for one final time Saturday night. After saying hi to everyone, I asked my friend Glimmer if there were any jerks worth writing about.
Glimmer: Well, there are those idiot guys at the punching bag game.
Me: What'd they do?
Glimmer: They hit on me outside when my boyfriend was with me.
Me: Oh, hmm... anyone else?
Glimmer: Santa Claus is here!
Me: Well, I've written about him before, and unless he has some of the people here sit on his lap, I don't know what I could possibly write about him.
Glimmer: Uhh... well, the guy in the band is playing the bongos with his drumsticks.
Glimmer wasn't the only one who noticed this. Several other friends pointed this out to me...
Body Burner: Walt, did you get my lovely text message?
Me: No, but let me see... "Pssst, I'm peeing." Haha, awesome.
Drunken Body Burner: I can't believe the guy in that band is playing the bongos with drumsticks.
Me: Haha yeah, what an idiot.
I think about half-a-dozen people commented about this to me - but I didn't quite understand what the big deal was. I know absolutely nothing about bands, but is there some significance to playing bongos with drumsticks? What are you supposed to play bongos with anyway? And I'm not even quite sure what a bongo is. Is it some sort of tiny flask?
More importantly, why is there even a band out there with a bongo? Were they out of xylophones and triangles? It's sad to see Tango come to this. They used to have big-name bands that played awful music, but the bar closed out with an unknown band that played awful music with bongos.
2. Age Guesser
I guess the Bongo Bongo band didn't cost very much because Tango also brought in some sort of fortune teller. Actually, I'm not even sure if the bar paid for this guy, but he bedazzled my friends with his divination skills.
I was playing pool when my friends called both me and Body Burner over. They were standing with some guy with long hair.
Jamie: This guy can guess your exact age! He's guessed everyone's age correctly so far!
Body Burner: What? No way. How old am I?
Age Guesser: Hmm... hmm... hmm...
Age Guesser's eyes quivered wildly. He looked like he was going to have a seizure, but he suddenly stopped shaking and had an answer.
Age Guesser: You're 24.
Body Burner: Holy s***, how did you know that?
Age Guesser: That's what I do.
Age Guesser just shrugged his shoulders and smiled. He turned toward me.
Jamie: Try Walt!
Age Guesser: Hmm... hmm... hmm...
Once again, Age Guesser's eyes convulsed. It was still very strange, but I was less concerned this time. Not that I would have called an ambulance anyway. Age Guesser once again stopped shaking and presented his response.
Age Guesser: You're 22.
All of my friends who knew my exact age suddenly looked dejected. I was happy that he thought I was much younger than I was. I laughed gleefully.
Age Guesser: Like I said, it's what I do.
Me: But I'm not 22.
Age Guesser: Oh, so did you just turn 23? Or are you 21 and about to turn 22?
Me: No, not even close.
Age Guesser: What? That can't be. You're 22.
Me: No way, dude. I wish I were 22.
Age Guesser: How old are you?
Me: I'm 30!
Age Guesser: What? No way. That can't be possible. Show me your driver's license.
I took my driver's license out of my pocket and handed it to him. He stood there in complete shock with his mouth agape. He stared at it for a good 30 seconds before giving it back to me.
Age Guesser: I can't... I can't... I can't believe it...
Me: Yeah, people say that I look young. One of my neighbors thought I was 18.
Age Guesser: I don't... I don't know... I don't know...
Age Guesser looked completely defeated. He walked away, slumped down at the bar and ordered a drink. Meanwhile, I was thrilled because the previous night at my cousin's wedding, I told my friend Man-Eaters that my neighbor said I looked 18, but Man-Eaters countered that I look like I'm in the 27-age range. I then argued that I could play a role in a high-school drama.
Man-Eaters: I'm sorry, but you just can't pass for a high-schooler.
Me: Yes I can! My neighbor thought I was in high school. If they had a third Beverly Hills 90210 show, I could star as one of the main characters.
Man-Eaters: No you couldn't.
Me: Why not? Luke Perry did, and he was a 30-year-old playing a high-school sophomore in the original.
Man-Eaters: You're not Luke Perry!
Me: But Luke Perry isn't WalterFootball either!
I'd say Age Guesser would agree with me. Now, if only he were casting for a new cheesy high-school drama TV show...
3. The Women
Remember when I wrote that no bands means no girls? Well that applied Saturday night. Outside of my group, there were hardly any females at Tango. In fact, the last one I saw was when my Asian friend Not Asian Guy spotted this attractive chick sitting by herself at the bar. Not Asian Guy went over to her, but came back looking dejected a couple of minutes later.
Me: What happened?
Not Asian Guy: She just wants to sit by herself.
Not Asian Guy: Yeah, she actually said, "I want to be alone and sad."
The cheerful women at Tango aren't any better. I was playing another game of pool when this individual walked by. It was fat and had short hair. I was instantly confused.
Me: Hey, is that a guy or a girl?
Pat: I honestly have no idea.
Glimmer: It's a girl. Trust me, I know these things.
Me: Are you sure it's not a eunuch?
Glimmer: Could be a eunuch, but I'm almost positive it's a girl. Eunuchs would be more muscular.
Me: But Varys from Game of Thrones isn't muscular!
Glimmer: Good point.
Pat: Well, it's walking toward the bathrooms, so we'll know what sex it is based on which door it goes in.
Sure enough, the eunuch look-alike entered the women's bathroom. Glimmer was right, and I was disappointed that I didn't get to see a eunuch that night. Still, the point is that the recent females we've seen outside of our group have been depressed chicks and strange women who look like they are men without balls. This is what happens when there are no bands.
4. Age Guesser, Again
"Bar's closed!" the bartender shouted at 2. My friends started gathering stuff to steal from the bar since it was closing for good. They gathered up a bunch of coasters, but I didn't have anything to take. A friend (I can't remember who because I was too drunk at the time) suggested that I should steal the pool table's eight ball. I thought about it, but then realized that I already have an eight ball for my pool table.
My friends who hadn't left already were standing outside. Age Guesser was there with them for some reason. He looked unbelievably drunk. When he saw me approach, he gave me a hateful scowl.
Glimmer: Walt, did you drive here?
Glimmer: Damn it, we need someone to drive another car.
Age Guesser: I'lllll drrriivvee annnutthhhurr carrrr hic!
Pat: But didn't you drive your car here?
Age Guesser: Yeeeaahh I ddoroorve mmyy carrr heeere hic!
Pat: Umm... how are you going to drive two cars?
Age Guesser: I dunnnooo mannnn I'mmm juuussst goonnn dooo it.
I love how people get the inspiration to do crazy things when they're drunk, but I don't think I've ever heard of someone attempting to drive two cars at the same time. If he somehow managed to do that and got pulled over, would the cop give him two DUIs? I'd like to know how that would work.
I guess I'm to blame. I destroyed the man's confidence. I exposed him as a charlatan, which sent him into a drunken stupor. Now, he's going to get an ultra-rare double DUI, all because of me. Well, me and the stupid .08 law that helped destroy Tango.