Martin Contreras and Keith Orr
A door opens to an outside landing where smokers can relax; a stairway descends from there to the parking lot behind the bar. An alcove holds a well-maintained red felt pool table, a rack of sturdy cue sticks, and an abundance of chalk. Framed photos of male models snapped in the styles of Robert Mapplethorpe, Abercrombie & Fitch, and Pierre et Gilles bedeck the scarlet walls, punctuated by three windows and a vintage AIDS awareness poster by Keith Haring. Along the walls fronted by barstools run shelves, perfect for the bottles, glasses, and elbows of those watching or waiting to challenge the reigning pool champs. It'll be busy tomorrow, on free pool night, but tonight it's quiet.
As I head back down the fifteen steps, the soundtrack changes again: it's karaoke night downstairs. I hear that Seventies songs and show tunes are favorites.
[Originally published in April, 2014.]