Drink minimums make me think of strip clubs. Strip clubs make me feel dirty. By the transitive power of logical inference, then, drink minimums should make me feel dirty. Which they do, sort of — just not in the I-hate-to-see-you-subjugating-yourself-like-this kind of way. More in a defiant, dumbfounded, I-just-got-taken-advantage-of kind of way. Drink minimums when there's no cover and the entertainment's free: fair. In all other scenarios: not so much.
But, really, who am I kidding? I've never met two drinks I didn't like, in any situation, at any hour. So while I don't especially like it that the Comedy Works forces me to have two of its arguably overpriced drinks (or fried food items) in the showroom, I ain't mad at one of the country's best professional standup venues or nuthin'. In fact, I'm having drinks in the upstairs lobby bar before the show with full knowledge of house policy — including the rule that says my drinks at said lobby bar don't count toward the minimum. Don't you worry about me, Comedy Works: I'm on the level.
As is my bartender, who ensures through a few simple hookups that my buddy and I not only meet the minimum downstairs, but likely would even say "Thank you" if the rule were five. For starters, we're freezing: It's snowing outside and the building's upstairs heater is busted. Our 'tender's been wearing a coat to work for weeks and understands our pain, acknowledging it with four fingers of red wine instead of the two that the bar staff is probably trained to pour. We're also dreadfully hung over at 6 p.m., unable to stomach, for our second round, the happy-hour-priced Coors Light, Fat Tire or Sunshine (the only beers on tap). "What would go down easy?" this bartender inquires. Tequila. Top shelf. Mixed sour to the top of the glass for the price of the well shit. Done.
While we drink, we inquire about some of the famous comics who've come through: who's a prick, who makes bizarre requests, that sort of thing. Bob Saget, we're told, once made everyone on staff call him "Mr. Saget" and, when he left the green room at all, brooded over his innocent victims like a spectacularly awkward asshole. (Seen Bobsaget.com? Wow.) Dave Chappelle, on the other hand, is exactly the dude we expected he'd be: charming, generous, always lookin' for a bag of weed.
By showtime, my buddy and I are nice and primed, happy to consume far more than the minimum, and faster than the wait staff can bring 'em to us. Granted, we're significantly less pleased when the bill arrives.
But we've long lost that dirty feeling.