Tuesday, December 23, 2008
French Laundry. Chapter Three.
After we ate at the French Laundry, we went to one of the best bars I’ve been to in awhile. (Yes, AFTER. The French Laundry story is the best, so it comes last in this series. It’s the headliner, if you will.) The bar is called Pancha’s and it’s just a couple doors up from the French Laundry. Denise spied it on her way in and, while we were done eating, we weren’t done drinking. And after spending $600 on wine, we were ready for something a little more affordable. Pancha’s appeared to fit our budget. Plus I think it’s the only game in town.
What made Pancha’s so awesome wasn’t the prices, or the casual atmosphere, or the pool tables, or even that you could smoke in there, no, those things were all great, but the real reason to go to Pancha’s is the bartender: Rose. Rose is awesome. She’s a portly Mexican lady with the mouth of a sailor.
Rose likes to prop her knee up on the cooler for some reason. I wouldn't be surprised if she was farting. She's that type of gal.
“You can see there are fucking ashtrays on the bar, what the fuck do you expect?” she said to us in the middle of a story about a woman who recently complained about second hand smoke. “We didn’t ask you to come into our shitty little bar, you dumb bitch.”
The clientele is mostly locals, most of whom work at one of Keller’s restaurants in town. She pointed to a small group at the end of the bar, “They work at the French Laundry,” she said. But there’s another crowd of rich people that enjoy the quaintness of “slumming it” after a day at the wineries. Rose has no tolerance for the latter. We were to see that in action on our next visit.
Tom, Tania, and Denise enjoying some AFL beverages. (After French Laundry. Our lives our now divided into two categories, BFL (Before French Laundry) and AFL.)
So we went back the next night. Sunday night. My actual birthday. When we arrived, there was nobody in the bar except for Rose and a couple of dudes who she promptly kicked out when we walked in. “I just 86’d them,” she said proudly. “Why?” we asked. “Those are my nephews,” she said.
We ordered a couple drinks and asked how the night before had gone. She told us that it was busy, etc., and then she casually mentioned that she had gotten in a fight at the bar. “WHAT?” We were smitten with Rose. She cusses like fuckin’ crazy, AND SHE BRAWLS! Don’t fuck with Rose.
Apparently some “stupid fuckin’ chick” couldn’t handle her liquor and was barfing all over the bathroom. Rose jokingly offered her a shot. “You sure you don’t need another shot?” she said laughing at the Stupid Fuckin’ Chick. Then the Stupid Fuckin’ Chick started talking shit and made some derogatory comment about Mexicans which of course got her thrown out. Outside in the parking lot, the argument blossomed into a fight. “Rose ends up pushing someone up against their car,” Tania said, “and everyone knows Rose was right. Because Rose kicks ass. For real. She'll kick you out, and then she'll kick your ass.”
It wasn’t long before we were joined at the bar by a crazy lady. She reminded me of Faye Dunaway’s character in Bar Fly. She looked like a drunk dressed up as a woman. And she wouldn’t stop talking. She was friendly and all, but something was amiss. I turned to Rose at one point and went, “Coke?” Rose nodded her head, “Oh, totally.” Unfortunately for Tania, Tania was closest to her.
"BLAH BLAH BLAH! OH I LOVE THIS SONG! BLAH BLAH BLAH! I'M TOTALLY BONKERS!"
“The crazy lady I talked to was just nuts,” Tania said. “Her husband's in jail, San Quentin, I think. She doesn't know where to get coke in that town. Shit, they don't even sell cigarettes after 10pm. She likes country music and used to be a wild child, hitch hiking, and squatting in San Francisco and shit. But, again, she still does not know where to get any cocaine in Napa Valley. No idea. Right about then I decided she was a waste of my precious time that could have been spent talking to Rose.”
Fortunately we got a few games of pool in before the douche bag parade arrived. Apparently somebody’s Christmas party ended early, so all the fucktards that were at it descended on Pancha’s. They were young, loud, drunk, and stupid. And acting like assholes in formal clothes. Rose hated them more than we did. “Hey! Don’t touch my fucking pool tables you fucks!” she yelled at a group that was trying to lift a table to get a ball to drop. “God, fucking idiots,” she mumbled.
By that time, we were drunk and it was time to go. Which was a good thing because I had fightin’ on my mind. One of the little shits sallied up to the bar a little too close to me for my tastes. As he stood there waving a $20 bill around in front of my face to get Rose’s attention, I grabbed the bill and looked at him with an expression that said, “Stop waving this around in my face.” The kid looked at me and turned to his friend and said, “Looks like a second grade stare. Doesn’t it look like a second grade stare?” I’m not even sure what that means, but it was coming out of the mouth of a cocky little frat boy and I wanted to fucking head butt his face and break his nose. I must not have been that drunk, because there was still a smidgen of reason left in my head. “Don’t do it, Dave,” the voice said. I let go of the bill and I said, “You two gentlemen have a fine evening.” Then I turned to Tania and said, “Let’s go.” I think I made the right decision. For once.
We thanked Rose and Tania gave her a huge tip. As we were leaving, Rose pulled a bottle of champagne out from behind the bar and handed it to us. “Happy Birthday,” she said. Yes, Rose is awesome.
Posted by Bozo Monkey Bear III