“I feel like we’re drinking in a trippy submarine.” – Clutch

Saturdays were best for drinking. We could make an unassuming appearance, assess a bar from a distance, then negotiate with our own weighted decisions. “Where the hell are we?” asked Clutch. We stood outside a tiny wooden door with three other people; each debating the safety of a dank basement bar. “There’s drinking to be done!” I announced, shamelessly promoting our website to everyone within ear shot. “…and there’s $2 Pabst,” I quickly added. Clutch charged down the stairs in approval as I casually followed.

We were stopped at the bottom of the stairs. A man on a stool waved a permanent magic maker around. “$5 cover tonight!” he gleamed, full of energy. “But there’s drinking to be done!” I replied. He stared, “Well the DJ is from out of town,” he added. The situation was getting out of hand quickly. Clutch in full swing shot-put the money into his hand. There was no time for intolerance, to the bar!

We brushed passed several people before hitting the bar. An older man in a suit with suspenders swung his body towards me. “Gentlemen, a moment of your time,” he said with a voracious appetite. Something was amiss, what was he doing in a hipster hideout? Clutch promptly spun 180 degrees, pretending not to hear him. The man snapped his suspenders loudly with his thumbs. “We’re going to beat Romney at the polls aren’t we!” I glanced down. OBAMA ’08 and ’12 buttons lined his shirt. He galloped through a scripted speech, muttering indecencies and indiscretions. As he finished, he gave me a thumbs up. I stared at him confused, wanting to question him about good old Dick Nixon and his views on the McGovern campaign. A moment of clarity triumphed, Clutch placed a Pabst in my hand. “What was that, what just happened?” asked Clutch. “Something about a campaign trail,” I replied. I couldn’t escape the black hole of politics, even in the remote corners of Philadelphia. Didn’t he know the shark was dead? Hunted to extinction of course.

I took a sip of my beer and looked around the tiny sublevel room. In the confusion, my eyes hadn’t had time to adjust. Red, purple, and blue paint were splattered along the walls. Strange rival gang graffiti circa ’80s Yo! MTV raps era overlaid the mess. Zebra print curtains offset the scribble. I gripped the bar tight as my head swirled. In a daze I looked up at the ceiling that was lined with stickers and  dollar bills. Lighting came from fixtures that belonged on a submarine. I slowly turned my head towards Clutch, he had a disturbed look on his face. “What’s wrong, man?” I asked as I rubbed my eyes. He quietly pointed at several television sets implanted in the wall. They were playing strange transmissions from the ’80s, perhaps even the ’90s of people in sweatpants dancing to massive boom boxes. Women with large frizzled hairdos were bent over in bikinis; a cross suddenly flashed on her backside. The screen became grainy, like an old VHS tape played five million times. Strange erratic dancing filled the screen with the word “COOL” pulsing on and off. This was the kind of thing they used to brain wash people; I had a great thirst and the urge to watch Knute Rockne – All American. Go ahead, look it up, I’ll wait.

The DJ cued up some disco music with screeching treble. I grit my teeth, closing one eye. Hell man, turn it down a notch! Clutch looked a little uncomfortable; I checked his ears for any signs of bleeding. People invaded the dance floor, throwing around the finest Charlie Brown dance moves they could muster. 5…24, no, 40 people suddenly piled down the stairwell. Some in suits, others in standard Barbary issue clothing. It was a rarely seen concoction; part class, part hipster, part disco fist pump.

I was shoved against the bar. A girl in a red dress was abruptly dipped behind me. The man shoved his face on top of hers, resuscitating her with ample mouth to mouth that continued a little too long. Give her air! Her hearts already racing! He ripped her from the dip and they plunged onto the dance floor, bringing life to the quiet dance party. A dance circle formed, people began strutting, peacocking, and performing for the clapping crowd. It was a dance-off reminiscent of my days at Mad River. I turned around to tell Clutch, but he had vanished; a move that was invented by JB.

I scoured the room in a short panic; impending trouble was bound. I found Clutch standing near the dimly light hallway that housed two bathroom doors. “So, if I were to just start banging a chick in the corner, would you tell anyone?” Clutch asked the drunk guy holding onto the wall. The man came out of his daze for a split second, “I…I would tell the bartender…immediately cause…(long pause)…you know, that’s wrong,” he barely mumbled out. “Whatever, man,” laughed Clutch. I stood quietly, trying not to laugh. Another man got in line next to me, as the overly drunk one fell into the bathroom. Clutch repeated the question, spanking the air with enthusiasm. Vomiting noises came from behind a bathroom door. “You wanna bang a chick now? RIGHT NOW! Let’s get one over here!!!!!” said the second guy with an eagerness that was borderline creepy. The first guy stumbled out of the bathroom. “These bath….rooms are…horrible….creepy,” he slurred. He had never been to The Republican. These bathrooms were a 5-star hotel experience.

I twisted through the crowd as they kicked and pushed, kung-fu fighting to the beat. Clutch trampled directly through the center of the crowd, casually sipping his beer. Angry eyes darted towards him. The second man from the bathroom looked over and spanked the air, making prolonged eye contact with Clutch. He drew two fingers to his eyes, then pointed them back at Clutch. “I think it’s time to go,” said Clutch. I nodded in agreement. Basement party – 1, Team TD2BD – 0.

The bottom line:

Hours: 10 p.m. – 2 a.m.
Crowd:  Hipster | Divey
Music: DJs
Price range:  $
Accepts Credit Cards:  Yes
Dance floor:  Yes
Outdoor area: No
Coat check: No

Woah! What a cool place. It’s a divey hipster bar in the middle of Rittenhouse Square. When you need a quick escape from the typical Fishtown / Nothern Liberties madness come to Medusa Lounge. You’ll feel right at home. Typically they play techno, electronica, and other various ootz, ootz kind of music. Cheap drinks, specials, and beers make a short night go a long way! Also, don’t be too intimidated by the outside, it’s legit basement party goodness inside.

Medusa Lounge
27 S 21st St
Philadelphia, PA 19103