Photo by James BunoanHe listens to bearded, bespectacled, down-on-their-luck hipsters whine into whiskey-and-Cokes about unrequited punk rock love. He watches soused patrons vainly attempt to discreetly suck face by the popcorn machine—hey, did you hear it's impossible to drink yourself invisible?
Blake, the Red Room's charming, 27-year-old bartender, is an expert on human nature, a brilliant observer of ill-advised pickup lines, nasty bar fights and all things blotto. While it's a wonder that anyone would chose to spend his nights surrounded by a hazy cloud of booze, sweat and bad Doors songs, one thing is indisputable: Blake loves his job. And he is very, very good at it.
I asked Blake to address your perplexing questions about life, love and living-room orgies.
First, an easy one from Clubbed! reader Andrew, a Midori sour-sipping party animal in the making:
Should I go to law school to be a boring lawyer, or should I follow my heart, continue acting and writing, and be so broke I look like Nick Nolte on a bad hair day?
"It depends on what type of lawyer you want to be. Environmental lawyers are okay, but really, you should just save the $100,000 and do something creative with your life. Besides, it'd be better to spend it somewhere else. Like at the Red Room! Whatever you do, just don't expect us to buy you a shot when you pass the bar. If you can afford law school, you can afford to buy us one."
Also, is it okay for a masculine guy like me to really, really like girly drinks? How do I order them without getting crap from the bartender? [Laughs] Of course! Just have your girlfriend do it.
Next, KUCI-FM's lovely DJ Wanda, an avid lover of both Tang and rockabilly, wants to know:
What's the lamest drink you're asked to make all the time?
"Arrgh! A chocolate cake. It's got vanilla Stoli and Frangelico, and people order them all the time. And I'm like, 'It's not your birthday. Why are you ordering that shot? If it's your birthday, I'll bake you a fucking chocolate cake!' But also, all martinis suck. So do lemon-drop shots. Ask any bartender, and they'll tell you they hate to make Bloody Marys. And it's horrible making Irish Car Bombs [at the Red Room] because we don't have Guinness on tap."
Sarah, an aspiring journalist and devout believer in mixing Blackberry Ridge Boone's Farm with Captain Morgan's spiced rum, asks:
If your roommate has loud and frequent orgies in your living room, is it sanitary to sit on the furniture?
"No! I won't even sit in my own sex! My lady [No joke. He calls his wife his "lady"—adorable!] and I have a black-leather couch at home, and we keep it covered at all times to protect it—mainly from our baby's drool, but also from, um, other stuff."
Overhearing us, a blitzed bar patron decides to weigh in:
Can I ask you a question?
"No, I'm not gay."
Finally, a question from Sandy, a student/receptionist with an affinity for high-heeled boots and mojitos:
What is the best way to tell if someone is single?
"Well, I probably shouldn't answer this one, since women normally just look at my wedding ring and ask if I'm married. There was a crazy lady in here last week, though. I told her I was married and she said, 'Married? Or dead?' Later, as she walked out of the bar, she bit my neck. Then her friend came up and said, 'Dude, her boyfriend's going to kick your ass!' So it's pretty much always hard to tell."
Eric, the doorman—who no one is really talking to—overhears us and says:
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How do I know if a girl is single? When she grabs my balls!
Silly doormen. There's a reason they're not bartenders.
Catch Blake (and Eric) at the Red Room, 1229 E. Fourth St., Long Beach, (562) 432-4241.
Do you sit in your sex? Invite me out! email@example.com.