“OHMYGAWD, IT’S TOTALLY OUR SONG.” (overheard at least 15 times that night)


It was Saturday evening and I was staring failure directly in the face. She mocked me with her curves and sarcastic grin. At this rate Jack Daniels and Jim Beam were going to show up. Those two never agree on anything. Where the hell was my phone, something had to be done. As luck would have it, my favorite fist pumping, party-time adviser Penelope Changeo called. “Mad River, Philly, let’s go,” said in her stern do as I say or else voice. I made the usual last minute disruptive calls. Clutch was in. JB opted out claiming he had ‘work’ to do. We assumed he meant a date.

Arrival. 10:38 P.M. Tonight was popped collar bro-night and we just spent $10 to enter. At Mad River this consists of 7 guys to every 1 attractive girl with a wall of bodies that prevented you from moving. We forced our way to a set of stairs that lead downstairs. A $2 coat check was strategically placed between two bathrooms. Back to the mosh pit.

We pushed towards the bar. Excuse me, excuse me, pardon me, what the hell, hey there in the sexy black dress. At least beer shouldn’t be expensive. Four dollar light beers plus a tip. Great.

I was intrigued by a large set of stairs that only an occasional drunk came down. A bro-guard stood vigilant with an earpiece and backwards hat ready for anything. We made our way upstairs only to find people lined up along the walls like an awkward school dance. Another hidden bathroom was located up here. Didn’t anyone ever tell them that mixing stairs and drinking was a horrible idea?

11:30 P.M. Penelope stammered through the door. I was relieved to have a beautiful girl with me. Penelope knew the rules too well, we had forgotten in our rush to adventure. Rule 4, pregame before exploring the unknown or unruly.

Clutch looked tense, the endless bombardment of bodies was getting to him. Every time he returned from the bar he had a beer in each hand. “Screw it, I’m going to double fist all night,” shouted Clutch. Rule 7, if it’s hard to get to the bar, get two at a time so you don’t need to go back.

Penelope and I easily danced our way to the back. Rule 12, everyone is far more forgiving if you look like you’re dancing when you push them out of the way. If you’re Clutch and you’ve been drinking two beers at a time, there’s an easier way. A large dance circle had gathered. He walked directly through the center shouting, “I SEE MY ESCAPE”.

Penelope and I met up with Clutch. He stood around the circle staring. The rules were simple. The previous dancer would spin a bottle. Whoever it landed on had to jump in and break it down. We watched in horror and amazement. The bottle landed on Penelope, the fist pump, always a classic. We saw a few robots and ninja moves before it landed on Clutch. Awesome occurred next. He proceeded into the circle and performed the Ravishing Rick Rude dance. If this is before your time see this clip. (www.youtube.com/watch?v=4gA9NbyvPe4#t=00m57s) A mix of cheers, laughter, and disgust followed. Then it happened. Pa pa l’ Americano, the bottle landed on me. I hopped in. RAISE THE ROOF, SALSA FORWARD, SALSA BACK, PUNCH THE AIR, TURN AROUND, COMPLETE!

1:15 A.M. The energy was almost gone but the DJ had other plans. He unleashed evil. The Back Street Boys blared and girls raged like it was 1999 singing every line to every song. Guys stood around helpless, and slightly amused. The party was back.

As the night came to a close as Billy Joel’s Piano man played. Strangers gathered arms around each other and sung loud, proud and off-key. As we went to get our jackets the party didn’t end. Penelope the one person party, started singing Hanson songs and within 3 seconds she made 20 new friends.

I have an honorable mention here. As we left Mad River and a guy mooned all of Market street. No not in a car, he just walked down the street with his ass hanging completely out. Guys laughed, girls looked frightened. Thank you mooning guy for a great end to what started as an rough night.


The bottom line:

Hours:  8 p.m. – 2 a.m.
Crowd:  Trendy| College
Music: DJs
Price range:  $$
Accepts Credit Cards:  Yes
ATM: Yes
Dance floor:  Yes
Outdoor area: No
Coat check: Yes

This place was pretty packed and a $10 cover is steep for a place that doesn’t offer many specials on drinks. The night began with an overly crowded bar. By midnight the place evened out. There was eventually enough space to move around and even dance. Bathrooms were hidden upstairs and downstairs. If there was one on ground level, it would have been impossible to get to. The crowd is barely 21 so if screaming girls is your thing, you’re home!


126 Chestnut Street  Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 923-5553