Wednesday, April 20, 2016

They Just Sometimes Need a Break

Strains of Grant Green's guitar fill the room, soaking it in cool, clean lines. The chill cats are here, enjoying downtime and whiskey. There's some chatter, but at a volume that makes it difficult to distinguish from the hi-hat and brushes. Mostly folks just nod their heads slowly, like whatever worries and cares they might have can wait until later. This is not the place for those.

The lights are low, as they always are here. The carpet is a deep, dark red that could pass for black. Men wear coats and hats, women dresses, bartenders bow-ties. Uniforms for everyone, places and roles for everyone. They all play an important part in maintaining the chill, as do Green and his band.

A saxophone steps to the front of the tune, and heads nod a little more vigorously. Still slow and cool, just with emphasis. A couple at one table clink glasses and smile. The group at the next table see them and smile at their neighbors. They raise a glass to the couple. Everybody drinks it in. They sip their drinks the way they sip the music, the vibe, and each other's presence. Everything is slow and cool.

One of the bow-ties leans over the bar to get an order as the vibes kick in. He'll have a Manhattan, and bow-tie smiles. Sounds good to him, in fact, he might make another for himself. Strictly speaking it's against the rules, but nobody speaks strictly around here. “I won't tell if you don't” is the unofficial motto of this place, and most folks are good with that.

On the down low, off the record, filled to the brim with chill cats looking to get away from the rest of their lives, which they don't hate. They just sometimes need a break.

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