I had been to McGillin's twice before and hadn't been impressed on either visit. But we returned because Alison was visiting, and Joe H., the finest karaoke DJ that we know of in Philadelphia, is at McGillin's on Fridays.
The place was packed as always, but we found a table. Unfortunately, to our dismay, Elvis Presley sat down two seats away from Alison, next to the seat we had reserved for kayshabeast. Was it the Rittenhouse Elvis, the Plague of the Locust Bar? He looked too clean, but it was no time for taking chances. We had to move.
well_lahdidah quickly nabbed another table, but as she swooped in on it and secured it before a gaggle of girls did, I noticed that Elvis had removed his novelty sunglasses and had put on reading glasses to look at the songbook! And, to boot, his teeth were all still there, and clean. I tried to signal to her that everything was OK, but the message was lost in the noise and the crowd.
We moved to the new table, which I was unhappy about. It was half the size of the old one, and right by both the door and the bar, meaning that we were exposed both the chilly insensate drafts and the increasingly insensate clamoring for draughts. I was irritable and snippy, but the beer kept coming and I soon felt better.
Of course, people kept bumping my head with their elbows. I tried to move my chair back a little to give myself a buffer of an inch or two, but it hardly helped. I kept myself entertained by making fun of people talking on cell phones. It was loud enough that I could hardly hear the people sitting at the table with me, but someone was trying to talk on the phone? I pulled my phone out and pretended that I was talking to my mom, or my wife who'd just delivered our baby: "That's great honey! I'll be over as soon as I'm done with this pint." kayshabeast was hilarious and pretended she was talking to her husband, who asked her to pick up some kinky hookers on the way home.
There was a group of guys behind well_lahdidah that were wasted. They loved every song. One of them hung his coat on well_lahdidah's chair when she left to use the restroom. They were very good at non-chalantly putting their drinks on our crowded table. At one point they were passing a full pitcher of beer directly over well_lahdidah's head. They were getting on our nerves.
One of them set his drink on our table again, right by well_lahdidah. She shot him a nasty glance. "Is there a problem?" he said. "Yes," she said. Actually, I don't know exactly what transpired—I got the details later. well_lahdidah pointed out to him that he wouldn't have been so casual about plopping his beer down next to her if she were a man, and I believe that truer words have never been spoken. What I saw was that this jerk was pestering well_lahdidah and kayshabeast and that they didn't want to be talking to him. So I stood up and said, "What's your problem?"
His friends immediately realized there was a problem and stepped in. What's the problem, they said. Your friend is a drunk asshole, I said, and needs to stay the fuck away from us. Fine, fine, they said, we'll keep an eye on him. We'll stand between him and you. And they did, for a few minutes.
Before long, he was back again, but this time feeling sheepish, apparently. He was apologetic to well_lahdidah and kayshabeast and wanted to make sure they didn't think he was a jerk.
I personally don't care if I ever return to McGillan's. There are enough bars in this town that I can afford to write that one off. But what sort of disturbs me about this is that I knew perfectly well what I was getting into: I had been there before and I had seen the patrons packed in like sardines and stewed to the gills. Yet we came in expecting personal space and a modicum of respect?
I feel sheepish. I feel sheepish for getting drunk to the point where I become confrontational, and I feel sheepish for entering the lion's den expecting to find anything other than lions.