By Jamie Swinnerton
By Mark Antonation
By Lori Midson
By Jonathan Shikes
By Amber Taufen
By Cafe Society
By Juliet Wittman
By Jonathan Shikes
We here at the Institute of Drinking Studies are always looking for new watering holes to grace with our presence, our stunted sense of "humor" and the inevitable sexual advances of certain members whom I would not trust alone in a room with Sister Inviolata of the Painfully Chaste. Since all members of the Executive Council were available at an early hour, we decided to try Monarck (1416 Market Street), which touts a daily happy hour, so that we could pretend we were going out early on a Wednesday to test said happy hour instead of recognizing that we are responsible yet incurable boozehounds.
Our excitement was heightened by our extensive research on the Monarck website (www.lotusentertainment.net), which includes a photo of a highly attractive young lady getting a drink. We had no doubt that after an hour at the bar, said young lady would be all over us -- or some of us would be all over her. So with the anticipation that teenage boys the world over feel before they smash that first Halloween pumpkin, we pulled up to the new bar of the week.
"Oh, S-word," exclaimed the Head of Sleeper Drunks, "I think we've been here before." And in fact, the three-month-old Monarck occupies a space in LoDo that has housed many other bars. But none looked as impressive as Monarck, which is way out of the class range of Institute members, except possibly the Researcher Who Adds Credibility to the Rest of the Idiots (so named because he has distinguished gray streaks in his hair). Couches sprawl in front and back. On the right side are intimate booths with colored lights in the floor, which give an ethereal glow to close conversations or spotlight juvenile behavior. The back room features numerous volumes of books inexplicably covered with hideous orange construction paper. Monitors throughout the bar play loops of music videos featuring scantily clad women, which both set a mood and sparked debate over whether we needed to go to confession or prison after learning that a video featuring Hilary Duff and her sister prompted lascivious thoughts in some members.
Then we looked at the bar itself and realized there were no taps. If it hadn't been for the Shania Twain video on at the time, we would have bailed. Instead, we proceeded to put away several full-priced drinks before we asked about the happy-hour specials. Monarck is obviously geared toward hook-ups, because it features drinks with names like "Snickers," which, as JP pointed out, are meant to lure girls into a "candy-store" environment. The bar also specializes in mojitos, which translates from Spanish as "easy to suck down at night, but you'll ask what the hell happened the next morning." I'd never tried a mojito, but was assured by the Head of Drinking Regrets that they're a passable beverage. Between tidbits of Yoda-like wisdom -- "Another mojito I will have" -- the Head of Sleeper Drunks managed to polish off four of them, even though he said that all mojito drinkers should probably have rainbow bumper stickers.
When we'd arrived, we'd found only one woman at Monarck (not counting the knockout employees). Reassessing, once we'd reached an appropriate blood-alcohol level -- which all guys know improves the ratio of attractive women -- we still counted only one woman at the bar, with a man we figured was her father. Predictably, this inspired a discussion of the virtues of older women and the wrongness of women being with significantly older guys. A high school or college guy who has a tryst with a woman ten years his senior gets hero status; a girl who does the same with an older man is a complete loser.
The lack of females led the Executive Council to commit to an important public service: a groupie drive. Before I hear from readers who think Andrea Dworkin is too easy on men, let me assure you that the Institute's groupies would not be there just to serve our members, but to help members meet other women as well. When a guy is with a woman, it piques the interest of other women; according to our research, this is because if a woman sees you with a woman, it means you're an okay guy with no known criminal convictions. Every guy has a story about how he's out with his girlfriend when the hottest woman in the bar suddenly asks if he'd like to come back to her place for a hot tub with her and her three roommates. Women will get even more aggressive with married guys, actually attempting to disrobe them on the spot. This is why guys are so terrified of marriage: The instant we say "I do," we'll be invited to the Playboy Mansion and treated to hundreds of women in the grotto, as well as an unlimited supply of antibiotics. And we won't be able to go.
Regardless, we at the Institute believe that it's our responsibility to round up a posse of beautiful women who we can take to bars so we can laugh at all the poor shlubs there alone. We might even hold our casting call at Monarck; we'll buy you a Snickers if you show up.