Home > Uncategorized > The Night We Almost Got Dead.

The Night We Almost Got Dead.

This past weekend I took my good friend Patrick out bar hopping to look for a suitable venue for his 30th birthday party.  As far as birthday’s go, 30 is a pretty big one and next to 40, the only one left to look forward to in this guys opinion, so we want to do it right.

Pat had a short list of a few he wanted to hit so we ventured off at around 8pm.  After visiting the always accommodating and modestly priced The Well on Argyle, we ventured on foot to the Cabana Club in Hollywood.  Now normally I wouldn’t be caught dead in a place like this.  I drive past this place from time to time and have never gone in because I’m not much of a “club person”.  I typically don’t go for bars like this but it was kind of sweet.  I just couldn’t fathom having people have to pay a cover to get into your birthday party but that’s my issue, not his.  The place is actually pretty nice once you get inside.  It’s bigger than you would imagine and it’s a pretty good spot to see a band.  One band played a short set while we were there having our drink and we checked them out.  Its still early at this point, like 930 and there was NO ONE in this place, save the half dozen or so people who had paid to see the band.  When we walked out, there was a line 30 deep to get in and nobody inside.  I can’t understand why bars do this, but that’s beside the point and the LEAST strange thing that happened to us this night.

When we left the Cabana Club, Pat had one more bar to check out before we met some other friends at our local haunt.  Lets flashback to August of last year.  I have a birthday party every year with two other folks who share the same birth week as me and we have the same gaggle of friends so it makes sense to do it all together and have a giant blowout.  Every year we spend about 3 weeks making the decision and I take suggestions from all walks of people to see what would be the best fit to accommodate all of us.  Last year, Pat tells me of this Russian place on Ventura that he heard of and he thinks sounded cool.  From what he told me it seemed like more of a dinner club than a bar to me and by this point my other friends had made another decision to go with the Blue Goose… and good times were had by all.  Back to now, Pat decides that since we never really checked this Russian place out before we should go now and see what it’s all about before we meet our friends to close out the night.  I oblige and we make the detour.

I wasn’t sure I was dressed appropriately, but for the sake of just stopping in to see what the place looked like, I didn’t think it’d be a problem.  We pulled up and found street parking, (something that has been happening a lot for me lately, but that’s another story for another time) and we walked toward the place.  As you approach, there’s quite a few blokes standing near the entrance dressed WAY too good to be out for a night of drinking.  Three very large men in three-piece suits manned the valet stand and all seemed to give us the stink eye under their sunglasses as we proceeded past them toward the elevator.  This place had no stairs that I could find and the only way to access the bar was through this elevator off to the side of the building.  I felt like this was a movie… although at this point I didn’t know it would be a horror movie.

As soon as you step out of the elevator, you’re on the top floor of this strange open building that oddly reminded me of a motel or apartment complex.  The entrance to the bar was an unmarked door, the only one that would open and there were more Russians milling about the deck, smoking exotic smelling cigarettes and watching us intently for any sign we were meant to be there.  Pat pulls the door open and we enter.  The first thing that sent chills up my spine was the temperature.  It was cold… real cold in there.  There was a strange metallic smell permeating from the back that I still can’t put my finger on.  The walls in the reception area and bar were a beautiful deep red with gold inlays and chandeliers on the ceiling.  The floor was two tone red wood, polished to a luster.  Before I can get a word out, Pat has made it past the receptionist and hostess who were otherwise engaged in a conversation with another member of the wait staff.  He strolled right in and stood near the back of the two-tiered dance floor that overlooked the magnificent bar and wide array of dinner tables as I stood in the entrance watching.  The place was big.  Way bigger than I had imagined it could be by the looks of it from outside.  It was more of a restaurant it appeared than a bar, as there were dozens of tables stretched out along the perimeter.  Brass handrails stretched around the sides of the stairs and walkways that arched to the center of the room where more dinner tables and a dance floor were situated in the middle.

There was a lounge singer and a band playing one of the saddest songs I had ever heard.  Or it could’ve been a happy song… I don’t speak Russian.  I imagined it was about the end of the cold war and she was singing about her long lost spy grandfather who was killed defending communism from the marauding Capitalists.  It was oddly hypnotic.  Sixty or so people were on the dance floor, all rhythmically moving back and forth in time with the music, almost swaying in their partners arms, all in unison.  Then the heads began turning.  From out of booths, dinner tables, folks standing at the bar… one by one, eye after eye fixed their gaze on Pat and I as we stood in the entry way.  There must have been 40 couples, no joke, staring at us in what appeared to be disbelief.  In hindsight it reminded me of an old movie where someone walks into a bar and the record scratches to eventual uncomfortable silence.  I don’t think Pat noticed and that’s probably a good thing.

Out of the corner of my eye, I see two of the biggest men I have ever seen in my adult life approach Pat from either side.  Their index fingers touched their ear-pieces as they deliberately maneuvered around welcomed guests toward Pat.  As I attempt to shake myself out of whatever spell this brief bit of music had put me in, the hostess laid a hand on my shoulder and was asking me who I was there to see and attempted to explain their dress code to me in broken English.  I didn’t avert my gaze.  I watched as these two goliaths made their way toward Pat, unable to un-daze myself to yell out and tell him that maybe we should go.  Her grip on my shoulder grew tighter as she re-iterated her spiel and I turned to look at her.  She was beautiful; I knew that from the first second I saw her turn around when Pat had made it past her and the bouncer.  She was dressed in a very flashy low cut evening gown and her platinum blonde hair was rolled up on the top of her head in a bun.  What I didn’t notice before was her eyes.  They were solid white… as if her retinas didn’t exist or she was born with the most hypnotic cataracts I have ever seen in my life.  They were terrifyingly beautiful.  She could certainly tell my surprise, as my eyes opened wider than should be natural upon seeing hers.  She smiled at me out of the corner of her mouth, a half cocky closed mouth smile that made me uneasy.  My peripheral vision confirmed my first thought that we were being kicked out before we were even in, as Pat was being escorted toward me.  As the bouncers drew near with Pat in tow she leaned toward my ear and whispered something to me.  It didn’t register at first, as I felt half hypnotized but when I thought back on it the next day, I kinda freaked out.  She said, “You don’t know how close you came…”

This is what I heard… or rather, what I THINK I heard.  Her English was obviously not the best but when it comes to something like this, verbal communication is second to visual and we turned to leave.  If we didn’t have to take the elevator back down, I wouldn’t have.  The thought of being cooped up at that point in a controlled environment didn’t bode well with me but I soldiered on.  We went to a normal bar and met our friends and I drank until the memory of that place seeped out of my mind. Pat seemed oblivious as to the mortal danger I believe we were both in and I haven’t spoken to him about what she said to me.  Now whether or not this place was actually a hive of vampires or just un-rully Russians who didn’t want Yanks encroaching on their weekend hot spot is anyone’s guess… but one thing is for sure.  I’ll be going back as soon as I learn Russian… this time with a wooden stake.  That white eyed bitch has some explaining to do.

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Django Ponciano
    March 30, 2010 at 11:45 pm

    This was a fun weekend. I hope you like my Pat costume….. and my your underwear costume… and my your right hand costume.

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