Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Cobra and The Velvet Margarita

The Cobra has been reborn.

The Cobra is a new found woman.

Finally, The Cobra is 21 years old!

I feel like I've been waiting for The Cobra's 21st birthday longer than she has. I can't tell you how many times I'd be like, "The Cobra, we need to go to this bar. Oh wait, you're not 21 . . . " or something of the sort. Do you know how long we have waited to finally explore the L.A. bar scene? 21 years, you fool. The past year has pretty much been me going to bars and telling her about it. Now, she finally gets to experience what I've talked about. And in typical Cobra fashion, she had to choose the right place to host the festivities. She chose wisely as we got wasted away at The Velvet Margarita (1612 Cahuenga Blvd in Hollywood).

This bar is one of those places that I've always passed and have been wanting to visit. The front entrance alone stirs curiosity with its black awning and bright pink, cursive letters. It just screams "delightfully tacky" (Hooters). The Cobra and her crew were already drinking before Gladly and I arrived around 11 p.m.

I had read on some website that this should be one of Quentin Tarantino's favorite bars because of its unique mix of American pop culture and Mexican aesthetics. It reminded me of a much more Gothic version of the strip club from From Dusk Till Dawn. You step in and are bathed in purple lights. The ceilings are high and adorned with black-and-silver sombreros. To the immediate left was our crew at a reserved table. To the immediate right was a little nook full of Hollywood hipsters. The nook was pretty sweet because it was set-up like one of those old Mexican caves with candles in the crevices. The candles lit up velvet paintings of Dia de los Muertos skeletons and Mexican icons.

Next to this nook is the impressively well-stocked bar. I didn't have to wait at all to get a drink. The bartenders were courteous and made damn good drinks. Now usually, as I'm sure you all know by now, I would normally order a dirty martini, but I figured, "Fuck it, I'm at a margarita bar," so I ordered the El Guapo Classic Margarita with a salted rim. And damn it was good! For me, salt is key to a margarita. The bitterness of the salt perfectly complements the sweetness of the margarita. It got me pretty buzzed too. Suddenly, this 4 at the bar became a 7--it was that good.

The bar is separate from the restaurant although they are in the same room. They're divided by a velvet plush wall. With the high ceilings, velvet divider, moody lighting, and all the skeletons around, I felt like I was riding The Haunted Mansion from Disneyland Mexico. Another bar, the patio bar, is located outside. After you walk down the hallway of velvet paintings of American pop culture figures like Frank Sinatra, Bruce Lee, and David Bowie, you can step out to the patio bar to have a smoke. It was a Wednesday night so obviously the place was dead. When this bar is open on weekends until 4 a.m., though, I have a hunch it's going to be raging, and I'll be contributing.

By the time Gladly and I finished touring the place, the rest of the party had come, and it was finally time to initiate The Cobra into society. We started her off with three Patron shots and a bottle of champagne. She downed them like a champ. The very nice and cute waitress then brought out red tortilla chips with three dips (chipotle, tomatillo, and bean; for free I might add), some apple pie bites, and a delicious chicken quesadilla. Eating said food sobered me up, so I got a Newcastle and 2 more Patron shots.

The Cobra and I downed them. That former 4 that became a 7 transformed into a 9.

Lots of catching up with old friends, 2 more Patron shots for The Cobra and me, and fun was had by all. Nothing noteworthy occurred that night because The Cobra's 21st was enough. Seriously, it was a long time coming. It's really starting to hit me that we're all growing up. I'm turning 21 + 1 next week (no one likes to be 22, let's be real), Boy Band turns 21 in a month, and that fucking word pops up in every conversation: senior. Well, thank God it's only September. There's a lot of maturing to be done, and I expect to do some of it at The Velvet Margarita.

To 21 more years of being those typical 21 year old drunks, even when we're 42.

Happy Birthday, The Cobra.

P.S. Download "Love Lockdown" by Kanye West. I'm a little obsessed.

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