Saturday, April 27, 2013

I wanna be sedated

Twenty-twenty-twenty four hours to go I wanna be sedated
Nothin' to do no where to go-o-oh I wanna be sedated

with the Independent selling booze more and more, there was a funny article about Palmieri's Bar on Friday...some chick wrote it and there were references to Tom Waits, short Mexicans, white girls sucking on cheap cigs and other weird stuff...then the article was gone...damn I wish I had copied it..was it a joke? did someone punk the Independent? it got yanked for some reason...

oh then I finally found the author in a Google search
Web Results Palmieri's on the Westside The Santa Barbara Independent
17 hours ago ... By Mariah Brennan Clegg ... Name of Bar: Palmieri's Cocktail Lounge ... My experience: Just above the door to Palmieri's, there's a sign ...
so she's got a blog and here's a link...
By Mariah Brennan Clegg

I wrote this review to send to the editor of the Santa Barbara Independent. It's still pending publication, and will probably go through a few more drafts, but here's the original....

Palmieri’s sits there modestly, nestled in little row of shops and restaurants at San Andres and Micheltorena. There are a few neon signs in the window, and a man sits outside on a stool, but in a landscape adorned with the massive Foodland sign and the raucously decorated store advertising "Todos por las fiestas", you could easily miss it. There’s a martini on the sign, but I’m pretty sure no one has ever ordered a martini at Palmieri’s.

People sat at the bar in small groups, in pairs, and some had just come alone. The bar struck me as the table at the Last Supper. Each engaged in private interactions, yet joined together in something larger. Loud music, but not to the extent that it discourages conversation

Inside, they’d decorated for Valentine’s Day, and there were still a few pink and red paper hearts decorating the bar. A Barbie Styling Head wore a sombrero and gazed vapidly past the regulars towards a wall hung with posters from SB Fiestas past. There were action figures and bobble heads next to the register, underneath big gold trophies draped with Bud Light flags. My eyes followed the flags around the room, across ten flatscreens, past the billiard room in the back - decorated with a portrait of the Corleone family - and rested on some sketches of Clint Eastwood and photos of the Stones. The ceiling was tin and painted red, hung with antiqued gold lights. It was part adolescent irony, part sports bar, and part old town saloon. There was history, but there was juvenility; there was something rooted, and something always rolling. I ordered a water, and I was given tequila.

Dave remembered me from the week before. I asked what I should know about Palmieri’s, and he shrugged as he polished a glass. "We’re the best bar on the West Side!", he toyed. Next to me, a regular chimed in: "The only bar on the West Side." This was the joke. People came to Palmieri’s not because they chose to, but because there was no one else for them. I don’t mean that they couldn’t have gone somewhere else, that’s not the point. The point was that there was no other place for them. Palmieri’s wasn’t some place someone dreamed up, some idea hatched by people who’d carefully studied consumer trends and possible niche markets. It was organic. And it grew because it was needed.

Outside we talked about bar fights as we took long drags on cheap cigarettes. We talked about Jaime – did he work there? was he just always there? – and why his face was on the Palmieri’s t-shirt. Just then the 5’4" Mexican fellow appeared outside. He answered a call on his old flip phone, lit a cigarette, and limped down San Andres towards the sea.

Inside, a stranger sat next to me, sheepskin denim jacket and curled up hair, and declared that this is where Tom Waits would have gone if he’d belonged to a Mexican street gang. He would have written about the large middle-aged woman in the sequin shirt and teeny white shorts being romanced by the man in high white tube socks. He may have drawn a creative tension between the martini glass on the sign and the inflatable Corona bottle by the door. He may not have known what to say about the young intellectual woman dressed in a cowl neck and wearing glasses, talking to the man with long blond hair. Something old and swingy came on the jukebox, and a man in flannel sank the eight ball.

This bar caters mostly to working class regulars from the West Side between their early 30s and late 40s, but I doubt anyone could feel out of place here. The bartenders pour heavily, but while their selection is decent, they’re decidedly no-frills. I’ll be headed back soon for more "water".

now why did the Independent remove this review...censorship or something else???


Anonymous said...

What was the point of the article? A great visual description of the bar, but no useful information on the beverages, food you can get there. It doesn't work as a "slice of life" piece either. Instead of letting the patrons tell their stories, the writer -- who intentionally distances herself as "a young intellectual" -- describes the bar's clientele as SHE wants us to see them. Did the 5'4" fellow with the "old flip phone" happen to tell you his nationality? How did you decide he's Mexican? Good use of the language, but the writeup comes across as snooty social commentary and a putdown.

Redheads Rule said...

Crap! Don't tell me that you need to be sedated, too.

Anonymous said...

It's all grossly obsolete. Robert Eringer, Montecito's occasional author who held court in front of Piatti's last year, bought Palmieri's as his new place to hold court, decorated it with his ephemera, and opens tonight as "Bo Henry's". If you go, be sure to wear work clothes and carry your lunch box! Give us a report on what may become the Lucky's of San Andres St.