I went to Ake’s once. It was horrible. They played the clean version of WAP. Everyone in there seemed completely straight; I only saw one man in a pair of overalls. But I’m getting ahead of myself. I should begin where all good stories do– at the beginning.
Picture this, if you will: you’re only about four drinks and two ciggies deep at a fraternity. The longer you linger, the clearer the picture becomes. You’ve run out of drinks, and don’t know any of the hosts well enough to ask for a beer. As you become less intoxicated, the smell of sweat gets stronger. You’re bouncing between bodies, thinking about where your friends went, or how you can’t hear each other, or how the freshman at the door was taking his job quite seriously for someone who’s just checking tickets. In short, you’re beginning to see that this is your Saturday night. And you begin to wonder what more there might be.
You’re getting antsy. This party is only your second stop, but you didn’t make it there until 11 pm. Now, it’s late but not too late– past midnight, to be sure. Lincoln’s will be closing soon, and your heart weeps for sweetheart bouncers and secret doors. You look around at your friends, dressed in theme for the party. Where could you go?
Standing in the cold, just outside the imposing building raging with testosterone, someone from your group pipes up, “I’ve never been to Ake’s Place?”
A sigh is let out from one side of the group, while the other side replies, “Me neither.”
And so you trek down the hill, knowing that, in essence, you’re going from one fraternity party to another.
Just as you stood in the cold outside of one grand edifice of bro-hood, now you wait to get into Ake’s. The bouncer has glassy eyes, and reminds you of the ticket-taking freshman, because he’s short and you get the sense that this is the first time he’s ever felt powerful. A clearly drunk couple walks up to the door, explaining that they were just in there, and want to go back. The bouncer eyes an ID closely and speaks to the couple. You can tell some drama is about to ensue, or perhaps already has, but between the music and the drinks you’ve downed, it’s becoming hard to pay attention.
There’s some crying, some screaming, some “seriously, dude?” expressions being thrown around. And the bouncer says nothing, save for a “not my problem,” which he really seems to have meant. This is tonight’s entertainment.
With all of this resolved, you’re thinking you just might get in any second. You’re at the front of the line now. Then, a man in his fifties walks up to the bouncer, handing him a bill as they shake hands like old friends. The bouncer opens the door for the old man, and you begin to wonder if the line would be longer at Three Needs, but as you watch the crowd grow outside of Red Square and even behind you at Ake’s, you just know that Needs is packed.
Finally, the bouncer turns to you. Staring in the window of the place, and watching the bouncer interact with the patrons, you’ve already got the impression that this will be a quick stop. When it finally is your turn to have your ID checked, you make light conversation with the bouncer, but feel like a traitor to the patrons who came before you, especially the person who was just kicked out.
You walk in, heading straight to the bar. Thankfully, one of the bartenders is amongst the least threatening men in the place, so you’re feeling all kinds of relief when he takes your order. Looking around, you see a million Greek letters on a million sweatshirts under a million Patagonia vests. What fresh Connecticut hell is this?
You close your tab after one drink.
Sitting there, with your sole drink and your two friends, you sit around one of the few open tables, mostly in silence– save for some commentary on the atmosphere, or lack thereof. This is your Saturday night. And as they begin to play the clean version of WAP, and the words “wet and gushy” make their way into your ear, you weep.