“A different type of review for a different kind of event.” -Zero
I stared out the window at Philadelphia’s skyline as we crossed the bridge. The hum of the engine had a soothing effect. No one spoke; we sat in silence. I closed my eyes and let out a sigh. It was the same weekly routine. The screaming girls, the spilled drinks, the guys wearing backward hats yelling “YO, BRAH WAIT UP,” as their friends kept their heads down and scurried down the street. This was our 20th week out; 20 different bars, 32 to go. I opened my eyes. Clutch looked in the rear-view mirror at me. “You alright man?” asked Clutch. I nodded. JB turned and looked at me. He was thinking the exact same thing. We didn’t need words. We needed to shake things up with an exploration into the bowels of our personalities. It was the kind of journey that demanded no training at all; where full grown men break drown and women drop their panties.
We parked the car and looked down the road. None of us knew where to go. We rarely did. Center City wasn’t ready for us and Northern Liberties had run it’s course. I looked up at the sky. At least it was a good night to roam the city. When I looked back down three guys in white t-shirts were crossing the street in front of us. They all match, really? We followed them in the most polite non-stalker way possible. I could vaguely overhear pieces of their conversation. “Tonight will be tight, don’t worry. Bacardi and bitches flowing like water. Hell Yeah Brah! HA-HA-HA,” their laughs echoed. One of them turned around. “Sup fellows? You checkin’ out the Black Light Tag Party tonight? We’re gonna be creepin’ tonight!” he yelled. We continued down the road.
It seemed like a nightmare, the kind you can’t awaken from. Swift turns left and right, another block down and we were in Olde City. Clean typical dependable territory. I shook my head in disgust. “Looks like we’re going to have to check out the Black Light Tag Party at Mint,” I said to JB and Clutch. They looked surprised. “Could be interesting, I’m in,” said JB. Clutch nodded.
A cordial giant stopped us at the door and validated our IDs. He waved us in and pointed at a table set up by the door. “No cover, and feel free to take a t-shirt and marker. Have fun,” he gleamed. The guy had a knack for looking terrifying and making you feel comfortable at the same time. We thanked him and made our way to the bar. Tonight’s specials were $5 Bacardi drinks, as well as $5 Jameson shots. It was a recipe for a hangover. While JB grabbed a round, I checked out the walls. A fine cloth material was pinned and stretched like a web along the walls. Someone named ZeeBar had already left it’s tag all over. Others were hastily scribbling their name in case ZeeBar returned to check it’s territory. “There’s something comforting about this purple black light haze,” said Clutch said while his teeth glowed.
This hadn’t been my first run in with Mint Lounge. Two years ago I gave in to a friends repeated nagging. “It’s perfect, go, go go,” they said. When I last entered the club I remembered being a giant among men standing at a sturdy 5’8. Patrons stared at me. I assumed my galactic size intimidated some of them. I casually strolled to the back after being ignored by the bartender; though clearly seen. A bartender in the back was kind enough to explain I wasn’t a “regular” as he made me a drink. That was going to be a long night.
The lights came down and a rhythmic pulse suddenly dropped, thump-thump-thump. A sudden energy filled the room everyone. Everyone stopped talking and jumped on the dance floor. The bartenders leaped around excitedly shaking drinks. The bar was alive; DJ Ronnie got people on their feet and ready to dance to the beat. I noticed a few regulars in the back on white leather couches. They laid around angrily chain smoking, unapologetic for anyone or anything. A guy stood near the couches dancing nonstop shouting how awesome tonight was. This continued for an hour as the couch dwellers gave him a death stare. A 300 pound girl lumbered her way out to the dance floor and started bouncing around. Twists and spins, flails, arms in the air! People gathered around confused and amused at her gyrations. It was an accident and I couldn’t look away. The girl spun around and dropped to the floor in a full split. “The floor must feel real good,” quipped JB. I felt the spirit of James Brown roll in his grave. “Someone feels good, but it’s not my appetite,” replied Clutch.
Two noodle shaped guys in red hats joined other red hat. They exchanged banter, “SUP BRAH! NOTHING BRAH. HELL YEAH!” The unthinkable occurred. The three began break dancing on the floor. I threw my hands up in the air. I’d seen it all. It was a dance off and the red hats were in. One of the guys that lead us here put his hand on my shoulder. “Seen it all huh?” he said unsettlingly. “They need to remember the three rules for going out. You know them already: One, fist-pump, two push-ups and three chap-stick,” he said gripping my shoulder. He suddenly let out a loud laugh. Almost everyone here had a spray tan and stood at least 6 foot 200 pounds. Push-ups; that must be the secret. With that JB came back with a few numbers written on his shirt. “That’s how you tag,” he said laughing.
The bottom line:
Mint has an unusual crowd and the regulars don’t care much for the tourists. The place has a total club vibe though they don’t seem to treat it much different than any other beer bar in Olde City. Looking for a different vibe in Olde City? Then give it a shot. The Black Light Tag Party was a special event at Mint Lounge. Check their site for other events.
50 S 2nd St, Philadelphia, PA