Determined to have some fun in Dallas, I sought out people - right minded people - to tell me where fun in Dallas was to be had. First, a drive up the freeway - I'd spotted a Nordstrom on the drive from the airport, and that was my first stop. Nordstrom draws the people who know fun; there should have been someone there who could give me the lowdown. Straight to the Rail, where the young gay guy and young recently married pregnant gal both told me the same thing - the Dubya. Then back to my hotel, where the young gay guy at the desk reiterated what that Nordites said - the Dubya. (Some advice: when in some foreign city, always seek out the young gay hipsters - guys, get over your fears of being sent to the Blue Oyster Bar, there to serve as a virgin sacrifice to the Leather Gods; the gay guys will never steer you wrong. This, by the way, is what we call foreshadowing.)
Turns out that Dallas has a W Hotel, and Dallas' W Hotel has the Ghostbar. Further research on the Internets revealed that the Dallas Ghostbar is THE hot new bar, where the beautiful people of Dallas go, 33 stories above the Texas plain. Now, I don't kid myself - my hipster days are over, and I'll freely admit that my Vince Vaughnness long ago went from this to this. Still, I had one thing going for me: I'm a San Diegan amongst Texans, and that brings with it a certain swagger, knowing that despite the coolness that the Dallas cool think they possess, they are Charlie. And Charlie don't surf.
So. I pulled up to the W in my rented Rockford Files Gold Ford Focus (yeah, that's how I roll). Tuesday night at 8ish, and I walk in past the dozens of guys in black suits with earpieces, up the elevator, and onto the 33rd floor.
Pretty nice view. As expected, there were a number of good-looking people there, as well as a few older types - weel-heeled tourists and business travelers who looked somewhat confused by the presence of scantily clad bar girls - and one Californian flying solo, me. (For the duration of the evening, I was the only person in the bar that was there by him/herself. It was kind of cool; even a bit empowering - not many people, at least not many people who aren't diagnosed alcholics, can muster up the cajones to go to a bar without a wingman/woman/entire squadron.) The waitress began bringing me drinks, I chatted with a few people, watched the socio-anthropological rituals of the Meet/Meat Market Tribe, and began to slowly but surely get hammered (three, maybe four Red Bull and Vodkas on an empty stomach will typically have that effect). And just like that, it was 10:00, and it was time to go.
Then a funny thing happened. One of San Diego's morning radio offerings is AJ's Playhouse, and one of the DJ's is Hula. Hula and I are friends, having worked together for a few years at SeaWorld. And right as I was heading out, Hula was heading in to the bar, along with a few female companions. So it was a cool surprise, seeing an old compadre, and while the girls that he was with (the girlfriend of one of his radio co-workers and her friends, hello, I'm married, wanna see a picture of my kid?) went off to toy with the egos of the slavering single guys (which outnumbered the females at least 3 to 1; not good odds, poor bastards - a reminder of how much being single sucked), Hula and I drank a few more cocktails and went the distance, shutting the place down. It was a good time, hanging out, taking to various random Texans, listening to a weird mix of gangsta rap and 80's dance hits. 2:00 a.m., and I'm out partying. On a school night. In Dallas. So money.
(Epilogue: I somehow forgot that I had to be at a meeting at 8:00. As in 8:00 a.m. As in I woke up at 6:30 a.m., with an interesting hangover. You know how in the movie Hannibal, Ray Liotta gets his brain sauteed and eaten? I'm feelin' ya, Ray.)
ETA 3:43 CST, because it was the Ghostbar, not the Cloudbar. Perhaps I'm still drunk.