Months ago, we hesitantly entered the glass doors of this place that was buzzing with the laughter of countless sophisticates. We weren’t quite sure what it was at first—it was much too elaborate to blend in with the typically dull scene of our hometown:
Its walls are glass, so that you can gaze out at the city lights: streetlights and whatever cars might be passing by at that time of night. There is an even thinner sheet of glass separating the bar from the bistro. Above the entrance to the reservation room at the far right, a black and white 1920s film is always being projected onto the wall—not that anyone is ever watching or listening to it intently.
Florescent blue lights illuminate the entire bistro, reflecting off the artificially dyed heads of the regulars there. We always get one of the long tables on the stage to the left of the entrance because there are always at least seven of us. From this position, we can observe the back of whoever is singing karaoke, and the expressions of all the intoxicated professionals in the audience.
People sit at separate tables but they are so close together that anyone could strike up a conversation with the person sitting behind or next to them at any time (although their voices might be overpowered by the karaoke music). The same, welcoming music is always playing whenever we decide to come because the regulars always sing the same songs by the same artists.
Shannon sings Carole King, Les sings Chris Isaak, Tiffany sings Alanis Morissette, Greg sings Red Hot Chile Peppers. There is one outlier: Jean, the feisty older woman with curly gray hair who sings anything from Aretha Franklin to the Rolling Stones with great enthusiasm, curls bouncing like springs in all directions.
It’s become such a familiar place in such a short time; one in which I share a bond with all those city sophisticates who hibernate in their cubicles during the week. We can sing songs for each other and not be embarrassed, because we know that we can only improve with every song each week in an atmosphere illuminated by blue lights and filled with laughter.