6/25/2005

Make It New in Stuff @ Night

http://www.stuffatnight.com/rd0405/partying/documents/04772059.asp

When my girlfriend and I showed up on a recent Thursday for the weekly "Forced Exposure Sound System" night, the room was packed, folks fighting to catch the attention of a bartender or one of the frazzled-looking waiters. One of Middlesex’s unique features is its movable seating: wheeled ottomans, which serve — along with the minty fresh mojitos, which everyone seemed to be drinking — as additional social lubrication, since clusters form and transform as people come and go, encouraging interaction among patrons. We walked in, pushed our way to the bar, ordered up a couple of six-dollar Tanqueray-and-tonics — not bad, considering there’s no cover Sunday through Thursday — and asked a few friendly looking folks if we could join their semicircle. "Yeah, but only if we can guess your ages," was their response — a strange request, but fair enough. They conferred with each other and made their guesses, overestimating a bit, which was fine by us younglings.

It turned out they were coworkers from a nearby technology firm, on a company outing of sorts and looking for someplace to shake a tail feather. Given the fat, pulsing quarter-note bass-drum beats that DJs David Day and Mike Uzzi were pumping through its loud and warm sound system, Middlesex seemed a good place to get down. But the dancing was sparse — either a byproduct of the clientele’s self-conscious coolness, or simply for lack of space. Despite the hipper-than-thou aura that seemed to hover in the air, the vast majority of people were surprisingly gregarious. On my second trip to the bar — this time for Miller High Life, the cheapest offering at $3 — I wondered aloud why so many people were drinking mojitos. A guy turned around and looked at me. "Just try this," he said, thrusting a glass in my face. I took a sip, catching a fresh mint leaf in my mouth, and began to understand. "No, no, no. You gotta get down there with the straw and get some of the sugar." I took a second sip of the smiling stranger’s drink and this time got the full effect. Good stuff.

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