I've always wanted to be the lead singer in a band. Not like Mick Jagger fronting a band rockin' out large stadiums, but more of a Janis Joplin type, pouring my heart out on a small stage in a dark, smoky enclave. Sadly, I can't carry a tune. My own mother turns up the car stereo to drown out my singing. But still, a girl can dream -- and if I could sing, the Blue Mule would be my dream venue, a place where an eclectic crowd listens intently to local musicians trying to catch a break. Housed in the garden-level space formerly occupied by Brendan's Pub, the Mule stocks a full bar, but the house specialty is definitely "the beer of quality" -- a Pabst Blue Ribbon draft, always cold and always $2. Hell, from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. -- that's the Mule's daily happy-hour -- you can get any of the bar's beer, wine or cocktails for just $2. The drink prices are a constant, but the live-music lineup changes nightly: Sundays feature hip-hop, "Manic Mondays" take it up a notch with punk and heavy-metal acts, and there's even a monthly Acoustic Circus. Watch out, Wendy Woo: I'm practicing in the shower.