I am at Tryst Lounge, and my roommate is yelling to me over the thumping club music, "I am the Jordan Catalano of this bar!" Which, with his worn leather jacket and long hair, is kind of true. Against tonight's backdrop of crewcuts and erect polo collars, he is the So-Called anti-hero.
It's Mardi Gras, but LoDo feels pretty much like it always does, except for some festive Fat Tuesday decorations.
But who cares about that oversexed holiday, anyway? The real action tonight is the launch of the "new LoDo triangle," as proclaimed by Tryst, Slim 7 and the Lure. The three venues, all independently owned and mere blocks from each other, have decided to let their competitive guards down one night a week in order to cross-promote Lost Tuesdays, when people are encouraged to lose their inhibitions in the clubland territory of 15th Street.
We've started our night at Tryst, where, despite the all-male bartending crew, the ratio of dicks to chicks seems surprisingly even. The dropped-level space is a singles swap meet, packed from one end to the other with Rico Suave guys in their casual-Friday wear and women with tiny purses and Sex and the City ring tones. Dudes are hi-fiveing each other all over the place, and it's clear that for the young professional, the firm handshake will soon be as outdated as the beeper. The place is so crowded that getting to the bar is like swimming against a salmon migration. One vodka tonic in, and Club Scout is eager to flounder to the next destination.
Slim 7 is just as busy and even more hormonally charged. The crowd is a bit younger, much more in tune with the Fat Tuesday party attitude and clearly unashamed to drop it like it's hot to the club's mashed-up mixes. There's a guy dancing on a table in front of us, mouthing all the words to "I Got 5 on It" and unknowingly spilling his drink with every thuggish hand gesture. "By the third club," my roommate notes, "the desperation will be palpable."
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The benches draped in much-too-coarse animal fur are also a bit off-putting.
We reach the Lure, and, unexpectedly, it is the most relaxed of all the spots, in spite of the blaring house music. Oddly, it smells like seafood, even though the decor seems like a modernist interpretation of a swank hunting lodge. We settle into one of the many booths lining the wall of the narrow room and notice some familiar faces that have come from the other clubs. Looks like they've found a good marketing scheme with Lost Tuesdays.
We're not ready for the night to end when the last-call lights come on just barely after 1 a.m. After downing our shots, I finally hear what I've been waiting for all night: "Show me your boobs!"
Ah, now it's Mardi Gras.