I love when people write things about The Bar. Its funny, but people tend to use this place for a few of their classes when they need to do any kind of writing assignment. I mean, lets be serious, I’m even planning to write a book about this place (and my friends lives as they happen in this place)! I’m going to make a million dollars off of it. I know I am. My friend Colleen wrote a play where The Bar was a central “character” if you will, and it was one of the greatest things ever.
Last Night, while I was sitting in The Bar, a big group of my sorority sisters came in. They were having a good time and decided to come visit me. A few drinks, some laughs, pictures, and saving them from a creep later (but that’s another story for another time), one of them turns to me and says “Hey KRose. I wrote about Wednesday Night for my Psych Class. Wanna read it?” DER I WANT TO READ IT. She didn’t email it to me fast enough, or gmail decided to act wonky, and through the facebook messaging system it went. I read it. I loved it. I got her permission to repost it here. So, here is a look at a typical Wednesday night, through the eyes of a newly 21 year old sister of mine – Meg.
Wednesday night, the one night of the week that the college crowd of Bridgewater State University seems to want to swarm the bars and make a night for themselves. Why not a Thursday or a Friday? That question lingers in my mind. But for some reason Wednesday night is the spot. So at approximately 945 PM I make my way from my apartment, and walk a few houses down with my roommate to the scene of the night: The Bar. Cars are driving by, no one is really in the streets, for now it is quiet.
The weather is somewhat nice, unlike the week before where it rained and the crowd was not pleasing. But tonight is the perfect night for observation. It will be interesting to see the clothing everyone is wearing, as it is November, and not June although some seem to forget that at times.
Upon entering it is not like any city scene, no line out the door, no fancy clothes and super high heels. Just the casual sausage man setting up shop by the front entrance, and by the back entrance a few adult males smoking cigarettes. Most likely waiting for the college crowd to arrive so they can leave their awkward setting and return to their families after having a beer after a long day at work. Bogarts is located in a mostly central part of town. On campus students can take safety to the graveyard and have a short safe walk, off campus students can most likely crash at a friends and take a walk as well. It is a dive bar that has attracted the crowd of Bridgewater State for many years. And in this night I am to just sit and watch how the crowd interacts. I am eager to observe the ridiculousness that is about to become revealed before my eyes.
At 10:00 P.M is when the cover charge of three dollars must be paid. So at 9:45 the crowd is small, except for the few broke students who are running to the entrance at 9:59, making sure they do not have to pay that three dollars, that could be easily be contributed to a four dollar pitcher, shared among friends. Once that first group of girls come in they look around and see no one is there yet. No one is dancing yet. Just a group of people standing around feeling awkward. Most keep looking at their phones, some are staring at the television, others are about to order a drink.
More groups start to come in. The bouncers crowd the door and intensely are checking ID’s. One girl is caught with a fake ID. She starts to make a scene then quickly realizes walking away before the police get contacted would be a smart idea. Two more years, you can wait.. we all waited twenty one years as well.
First I decide to go to the bathroom and observe it pre everyone else’s consumption. The chalkboard walls have some remnants of last weeks writing, the toilet paper roll is full and the floor is clean. I am not looking forward to coming back later because I know the disaster that is most likely to follow.
Next I decide to just walk around and check out the rest of the scene before the crowd becomes more congested. In the back room people are just sitting around, on the back deck two men are smoking a cigarette, and chatting it up with a bouncer. I go back in and a small line starts to form at the back bar. The bartender is friendly and knows everyone, she is a Bridgewater alumna and brings a homey feel to the bar to all customers who come in. She has the drinks ready before the customers even approach the bar. Joel the owner, is walking around making sure everything is good to go before the party hour begins.
Next I enter the pool room, some older men are shooting a game of pool. I wonder when they are going home, if they are going home, and how many people they are going to creep out that night. Every week there always seems to be a few adult men that just sit around and stare. I hope these aren’t them and that they are just enjoying a game of pool. But we will find them again later.
In the next room I notice the crowd is getting a bit busier. A line is forming by the other bar, couples are sitting around the small tables, and people are bringing their jackets to the back. Now I go to the very front room, to look out the crowd coming in.
A few guys come in and are recognized immediately. They all high-five each other “what up man” and proceed to make their way to the bar. A few girls are dancing on the dance floor already, one looking like she should really be at a club in Providence, another wearing a shirt, attempt at a dress. Most likely they had something to drink before they got there -- or possibly stopped at the local bar Emma’s for the usual dollar pizza and drinks. The DJ is starting to play his music and a line is formed outside. The bouncers are making their money and trying to look all tough and scary now so that no one will mess up.
More girls come in and start dancing, awkward guys sit at the tables around and just watch the drunk girls dance and make fools out of themselves, because no one is on their “level” yet.
I make my way to the front bar to take a seat and try to listen in on some conversations over the music. A forty year old woman is hitting on a young man, throwing napkins and coasters trying to get his attention, whispering to me, “Don’t you think he is cute?” I am very concerned for this woman who tells me her name is Debbie. She then continues asking me why I am sitting by myself and that I need a boyfriend to buy me a drink. Then grabs the boy next to her and tells him that he is my boyfriend now. I hope that I do not end up like that someday. You never know what people are going through but this Debbie character was something else. She then is getting upset that this young man is not paying attention to her and she goes outside to have a cigarette. Now I am playing the role of her coat watcher. I sit and watch the bartender running around frantically trying to get people their drinks in a timely fashion. For the most part everyone is being friendly. Others are pushing through and I think how sad it is how people act like animals just to get one drink.
Debbie eventually comes back and then tells me her ride is here and she is going to leave. I hope she makes it home okay.
Now an hour and a half has gone by and I decide to check on the bathroom again. Now bogarts is very busy and I have to push through quite the crowd. There is quiet the diverse crowd, caucasian is the majority followed by maybe twenty five percent african american. Most of which are dancing on the elevated area with the DJ. Three males are in wheelchairs in the middle of the floor. My feet are stepped on, beer is spilled on me, and I am just trying to get to the bathroom. In the women’s bathroom line, girls are going in in groups of four and five, the line extending far back, while to the left the men’s line is going by smoothly, one man in one man out. Nothing more nothing less, why can’t women be like that?
I enter the bathroom. Within two seconds people are already banging, “what is taking so long, let’s go!” I didn’t realize that when people are drunk their judgement of time is also altered. The once bare chalkboard walls are now covered in girls names, images of male body parts, sorority letters, and RB BD so on and so forth. The toilet paper is nearing its end, the floor is wet and the mirror is gross. I exit immediately and am greeted with the once banging girls to now, “Oh my gosh your shirt is soooo pretty I love it where did you get it?” I thought you had to pee so bad, and now you want to talk about my shirt? I didn’t realize that alcohol also made you forget that you had to use the bathroom.
Squeezing my way to the main room, I go through the pool room. The dads are still there, sitting at a table now, staring at every girl who walks by. A few college men are playing pool, definitely trying to impress the girls they came with. Taking a sip of beer after every shot and giving a wink. Making my way to the other room, everyone is dancing now. Some liquid courage got the mood going. People are dancing with pitchers, of beer pouring it into their friends drinks. I go to sit again and am immediately greeted with an altercation. It is now 12:15.
One guy is yelling at another guy about how he lied and took his girl. Guy one is clearly beyond drunk status and cannot stand straight and his words are not making sense. Guy one has a friend that is a girl trying to take care of him and pull him away. Guy two is just standing there with the girl. Doesn’t seem to want any problem, but guy one just keeps prodding. Guy one’s friend pulls him to the back room, and the other couple continue enjoying their night and having a good time. Guy one comes back with another girl and starts dancing with her trying to make guy two and his girl jealous. Clearly not working. Now previous helping girl looks upset and storms out of bar. It makes me sad, she must love guy one, and guy one is too drunk to even realize what is good for him is right in front of his eyes.
Last call is announced and a crew flocks to the bar. Shortly after the lights come on and the crowd has to finish their drinks and make their way out. I head out of Bogarts, a line is at the sausage cart, at least ten people are outside smoking, and there is guy one is running out of Bogarts yelling at guy two who clearly still does not care.
I walk back to my apartment and from my room for the next hour or so I hear people walking by screaming and just having loud conversations. It is amazing what a difference of a few hours and a few drinks can make. It is very interesting how much of an effect those few drinks can have on an atmosphere.
Well Meg, I would say your field study is pretty damn accurate.