|photo by this guy on flickr|
As you cross the street from Marlins Park and make your way to Bowl Bar (I can't imagine the Pepsi logo in the bar's name isn't breaking some sort of copyright law, by the way), you'll notice a brightly lit liquor store. That's not it. You want the next door, the one that looks like you're about to walk into a drug deal in the back of an abandoned building.
I entered that tiny door, The Gateway to Regret. This is my story:
The second I walk into Bowl Bar, I'm immediately transported to a strip club you'd find in a detective movie sometime between the late-70's and early-80's. Mirrors line the walls, while the majority of the floor is taken up by a huge, empty wooden bar. There aren't any strippers, but it's only 6:00 p.m., so who knows? The liquor store next door, with the bright lights and neon signs, is connected to Bowl Bar; the electricity, apparently, is not. And that's probably a good thing.
There's a man passed out on one of the stools closest to the door, his head resting on the wooden bar. He might be dead. The only other people in the place are a slightly-intoxicated Spanish man on the other side of the bar and two female bartenders. My friend and I sit a few seats down from the corpse and order two Coronas.
Right away, we're unsure of our decision.
"These come in a bottle, right?"
"I think so."
"A sealed bottle...?"
The bartender, a gigantic woman in a spaghetti strap top that's roughly fourteen sizes too small, pops the caps on our beers and brings them over to us.
"Eight dollars. Would you like lime?" she asks in broken English.
The lime does not come in a sealed bottle. We politely decline.
After a few minutes, the bartender shuffles back from the liquor store next door with our change. One hand is holding dollar bills. The other hand is buried down her top, adjusting her massive boob, which seems as if it's about to come spilling out any second. She catches us staring and begins to laugh. We laugh. We all laugh. Together. Uncomfortably.
A little later, the back door opens and another young Spanish man walks in and sits across from us. He's got an entire row of gold teeth. And what looks like a four-year-old. In a bar. For some reason, I'm not at all confused or alarmed by this. Just seemed like it fit. Shortly after that, the drunk guy from the other side of the bar comes over to wake the corpse. He rises from the dead and they slowly stumble out into the night. The man with gold teeth and questionable parenting skills leaves, too.
It's just us now inside this bar-slash-cave, two 30-something gringos completely out of their element. The person controlling the music notices this and, immediately, the slow, seductive sound of Latin music is replaced by Katy Perry's "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)". The DJ(?) is clearly pandering. This is our cue to leave. We've been here for almost thirteen minutes and that's about twelve and a half minutes too long.
Walking out the front door is a legitimate shock to the senses. You almost forget that the place you just stepped out of is real. Or that it's in a part of the world with running water. You leave Bowl Bar a changed person. Things looks newer. Colors appear more vibrant. Life has meaning. All this after spending just under 800 seconds inside.
If you're in the area, I can't say I recommend going to Bowl Bar. I also can't say I don't recommend it. I'm simply preparing you. And yet, somehow, you'll still be unprepared.
***This review only applicable before 7:00 p.m.. After that, I mean, hell, you're on your own.***