Carlo’s Club is one of those places that proves even the filthiest dive doesn’t necessarily ensure a cheap drink. My father and I had already been up the street at the Mission Bar during the game and were in the middle of one debate or another- poltics and family issues peppered most of our conversations- so we decided to check out the landmark where commuters are welcome. After all, this is my new neighbourhood and I’ve always wondered about the place and only been once briefly. I had often wondered about the name as well. I mean was it Carlo’s Club as the one sign says and some old holdover from when the neighbourhood was Irish/ Italian or was it just some painter’s mistake?
To say the place was slammed would be an understatement. The bar caters mostly to men and it was apparent most of these dudes had been here since the morning. I was debating giving up when a pretty girl in an extremely short skirt named Marisa grabbed me and ushered us to a side rail and two stools. I looked around and noticed she was hardly the only cocktailer on the floor. There was seemingly a fleet of them, all about the same dimensions and dressed like the women from that Robert Palmer video.
We ordered a round and my father went to use the bathroom. He came back with a unusual look on his face. I’ve always wondered, when it comes to bar bathrooms, why there exists the ones featuring a toilet and urinal side by side with no divider. Emergencies happen, but I wondered if anyone ever really went there. Quite a few men I know have issues standing too close together at a urinal.
My question was answered in the form of a sweaty, strained bathroom companion. The gentleman in question was somewhere between fifty and two hundred, I’m guessing. It’s hard to say, being that a steady diet of booze and hard living probably lent a lot to his general appearance. Whatever he was trying to pass was surely painful, however, in that his expression was definitely that of excruciating labour.
I had to go badly and tried my best to go somewhere else in my mind and piss as my bathroom companion gasped and wheezed. Waiting just isn’t done at Carlo’s Club, though, as we were soon joined by a third gentleman who laughed and teased my beet red companion on the toilet before unzipping and proceeding to urinate in the sink which was already serving as a sort of makeshift trash can full of paper and broken glass. My friend seemed to chuckle as well, which I thought was good natured. Perhaps defecating before a steady stream of strangers was something he had done before.
The parade continued to file in and before it became a squalid version of that scene in the cabin in A Night at the Opera, I decided to make my exit before I discovered the next place some inventive patron would use as a toilet.
I rejoined my pop back in the bustling bar room and downed my drink. Before I could put my glass back down, our charming attendant was back to ask for our next round. Rum and coke and a Budweiser rang in at ten, at which point I decided we best move on. Feral dive bars are fine as long as their cheap, but justifying paying seven dollars for a well drink that came in a baby juice glass was a little hard. I really hoped that some how some of that cash would go to our friend Marisa, but her phoned-in-smile and personal experience lead me to suspect otherwise. It also made me wonder why so many of these guys would blow their cash at this place, but men are easy prey when their horny, lonely and drunk. I can only imagine the laugh riot this must be for the girls.
So if you’re ever in the market for a post-commute drink delivered by a pretty face I guess Carlo’s might be worth a shot but I’d stick to beer if I were you and avoid the bathroom if your pee-shy.
I wonder if that guy ever made it out…