2006, the Year of… ?

Since Darpino asked, I’ll share my New Year’s Eve story.

Right up until the last possible minute, we had no idea what to do. As I noted before, sometimes we have a party, but this year we started tearing up three layers of linoleum from our kitchen floor (more on that later for you renovation geeks) which rendered a party pretty impossible. There was an eleventh hour call to go to Baltimore, but fear of amateur night drunks and cops galore on the ride back squashed that idea. So we settled at last on “low-key, someplace local.” We were just going to go around the block to Bar Pilar, when an ad in the City Paper for New Year’s Eve at Asylum caught our eye. “Martini luge? Retro Pin-up Girls? Pole Dancing?” Honestly, what more can you ask for $10? So off we went, with a healthy dose of scepticism, which it turned out we needed.

Asylum used to be known for a certain rough-and-ready edge, a biker bar sensibility, formerly in rough digs on U Street. That old locale is long gone, replaced (if memory serves right) by that souless development that shelters Rite Aid and a nail salon. But I digress. It’s been on 18th Street in Adams Morgan for years now, but only recently has it begun to lose its leather-and-chains edge. Friends who dj’ed there sporadically a year or so back remember when the owner told them he wanted to change to a more “typical” Adams Morgan crowd. Why do places that already have a loyal clientele and a distinctive personality want to change it to the boring cookie cutter status quo? No clue, but if NYE was any indication, the change has happened.

We were greeted by a mix of bland funk blah hip-hop upon entering. The usual suspects you hear everywhere trying to please everyone. Not even good funk or hip-hop, which is rather besides the point – what the hell happened to Asylum’s kick-ass rock and punk roots? There were some cute retro pin-up girls bartendering, but the martini luge remained virginal and we couldn’t even make our way to the pole it was so crowded upstairs. We almost missed midnight thanks to the clueless DJ. But beyond the truly tragic music mix, it all turned out fine for a night we were so clueless about. People-watching was prime, downtrodden wolves on the make with hot lasses blowing them off. Boys bummed my girlfriend’s cloves and then wanted their pictures taken with us (I guess our outfits rocked even if the music didn’t). My fearless husband braved the crowded bar time and again to keep us well supplied with drinks. The best part was the appearance of a loincloth-clad Baby New Year, who allowed us to cheekily spank him for good luck. And somehow we managed to walk all the way home from Adams Morgan to U Street at 3am without getting into one brawl…

Overall, it was a cheap and cheesy night, which may not necessarily be a bad thing in retrospect. We kicked 2005, the Year of Decadence, to the curb. Perhaps this bodes well for 2006. Could it be, the Year of Cheese?

1 Comment so far

  1. Chris (unregistered) on January 3rd, 2006 @ 3:33 pm

    They really should change the name now, it’s no longer the bar that used to be Asylum. I was a bit disappointed by the whole scene there.
    I don’t fault the owners for wanting to make more money, but it’s too bad that that’s the route they had to go to do it.



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