No matter how cool some people think they are, we all have our geeky tendencies. My most charming bent (or annoying, according to my friends) happens to be an enormous collection of action figures, amassed mostly in the 1980s, when I was just a drinking geek in waiting. Seeing as I’m all growed up now, I decided last week to put my entire collection on eBay. So long, Lion-O. See you, R2.
So let me tell you: Not only do we all have our geeky tendencies, but we’re more than willing to wear ‘em proudly – the bids have been coming fast and furious.
Naturally, as the next The Donald, I wanted to celebrate my potentially vast riches the only way I knew how: at the bar.
I rattled off all of the various fancy clubs in town – Reata, Bent, Ten, Bar 9, Embargo – and I realized that, unfortunately, I had been there and done that. I wanted to go someplace different – someplace I’d never been before – and preferably a place where I could be cool and dorky at the same time.
The problem: How do you know what a place is like if you’ve never been there before?
The answer: Like Luke Skywalker, you trust the Force. In other words, you close your eyes, pick a place at random, and go.
And of all of the new, possibly fancy joints on my list, I happened to pick the one with the fanciest name of them all: The Corporate Image.
On the way there, I had all sorts of visions of gray-haired grandees chewing on fat stogies and even fatter steaks, drunk guys with lampshades on their heads dancing badly, and other ridiculous stereotypes of business culture.
Knowing absolutely nothing about the white-collar nightlife-style other than what I’ve seen in movies (Wall Street, The Firm, Other People’s Money), I was way off. As usual. First of all, the local fat cats, trust-fund babies, and other princes and princesses by birth don’t hang out on the East Side, where The Corporate Image is located. They go to fancy places closer to downtown, like, well, Reata, Bent, Ten, Bar 9, and Embargo. Secondly, for a bar on the East Side, the name The Corporate Image is not to be taken seriously, as if regulars and newcomers alike are foolish enough to believe that by visiting a place so (wrongly) named, they’ll have a degree of class conferred upon them.
However, once I walked in, I must say that I was delighted at the absence of the grandees and the bad-dancing, lampshade-clad boozehounds: Even though I had a wad of cash on me and took comfort in the fact that more was on the way, I wasn’t prepared to pretend I was a lawyer or oil tycoon or whatever. Sooner or later, the truth about my bounty – that I obtained it by selling Star Wars, Thundercats, and other dorky collectibles on eBay – would have come out. I’m just so darned proud of myself!
The Corporate Image is a comfy neighborhood joint that’s good for a happy-hour stop or to wind down after a long night out boogying (or committing a hostile takeover). In a nutshell, the bar is the Meadowbrook area’s answer to J&J’s Hideaway, an ancient, ski-lodge-ish hangout that, like most of its neighbors on West Seventh Street, will be felled by the wrecking ball soon. Like JJ’s, as it’s affectionately known, The Corporate Image has exposed brick inside and groovy swivel chairs, a hot dog machine with store-bought buns on a table nearby, and a juke that, for better or worse, isn’t as lounge-y as the ambient tuneage at JJ’s.
And like at JJ’s, The Corporate Image lets you be cool and dorky at the same time.
Eat your heart out, Gordon Gekko. Or, better yet, let The Rancor.
Contact Last Call at firstname.lastname@example.org.