On Tuesday night, like many other Tuesday nights, I went to the Gowanus Yacht Club, one of my very favorite bars in Brooklyn. Expecting another delightful evening quaffing brewskies under the stars, I was shocked to discover that the bar had, in fact, been infiltrated by fascists. At first, I wasn’t sure. Obviously the fascists weren’t hanging around bragging about their totalitarian ways. No, no. They appeared to be the regular bartenders, but there was a tension in the air that could only be attributed to an absolutist power structure that had enveloped the establishment.
1. Upon seating ourselves at a rickety table (which rocked and caused my beer to spill on more than one occasion), my companion and I realized that there was no longer any table service. I looked plaintively at the (former) waiter, hoping he would bring me beer just like he had in the past. But no. As I battled my way up to the beer-to-cup staging area, he leaned on the bar and laughed. In most bars, this is ordinary and acceptable. Not so with the GYC. Generally, it is so crowded that walking through the place with a beer in hand is simply something that must be left to professionals.
2. There were no paper towels in the bathroom. Again, something that can be overlooked in a normal bar. But the GYC only recently installed a bathroom, which is in a fake room made of drywall taped to whatever used to be in that basement. I mean, you wash your hands in a utility sink and squirt soap from a ketchup bottle. Seriously. Under these conditions, paper towels are essential.
3. They have recently created a “smoking section” in a bar that is literally without walls or a ceiling. When I walked in, there was a big crowd in the front area of the bar. This is, at best, uncommon on a Tuesday evening. As I pushed through the throngs, I realized there were plenty of tables and chairs a little farther back. I silently wondered why they didn’t just go sit down. But then I figured it out. On several occasions, a few poor souls tried to light cigarettes in the completely unmarked, arbitrary no-smoking zone. Upon the first flick of the Bic, the surly non-waiter would march up, and yell something like “Dude! DUDE! You can’t smoke there! It’s a no smoking section!” At this point, the offender would calmly get up, walk three feet away, and continue smoking. All those who remained in the fantasy non-smoking section, glanced quizzically at each other while continuing to die from second had smoke because there are no walls in this tiny, tiny bar.
Only a fascist would have let this happen to the GYC. Where’s Churchill when you need him?
Gowanus Yacht Club: Unburdened by walls, and completely overrun with fascists.
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