The Bar Belle: Freak House v. Hooters

Freak House v. Hooters

Last Friday, I braved a pre-Halloween downpour of rain, booze and sexy nurses – wet, drunk, sexy nurses – to find myself at two frightening Chinatown spots. The first was Warehouse Theater’s haunted burlesque tour of forced abortion, shark attack and full-frontal zombie rape: “Freak House.” The second was Hooters.

Both places represented firsts for me. How I had somehow managed to live 21 years without being violently humped by sexy zombies, or paying $15 for violently overpriced chicken parts, I have no idea. But on the eve of All Hallow’s Eve, I found myself torn between Chinatown’s uber-artsy, hipster-friendly sleaze and uber-American, family-friendly sleaze (yes, those are tights under those short-shorts) in a night that I like to call “Freak House v. Hooters.”

This is how it happened. We arrived, frantically wet, at Freak House around 10 p.m. and waded into the crowd of late-20-something hipsters, first-daters and freaked-up staff members that filled the small theater-music venue’s lobby. Two women in multi-colored wigs and T-shirts bedecked with obscenely gesturing zombie hands told us the wait for the show would be almost two hours.

We settled at the cute little bar tucked in the back for a drink.

“What’s a cherry bomb,” I asked the bartender, a big dude under a stringy blue wig.

“It’s a flaming … ” he began.

“It’s on FIRE?” I said. “I’ll take two.”

I ended up spilling half the bomb, fire and all, on the bar. But the rest, Everclear with a splash of cherry juice, was delicious, sent a warm chill through my body and readied me for a trek back into the rain to find a diversion until the show started.

Naturally, we went to Hooters. Now, the excitement of a place named after boobs seems obvious. But when we entered the sexy sports bar – on the night of the final World Series game, no less – the place seemed deader than the corseted zombie girls who would drag me onstage to feverishly thrust their hips at me only an hour later. Now, allow me to confess: I am not a man. But while short-shorts layered over shiny tights is certainly a novelty, I just didn’t get Hooters. Our waitress was pretty, if unenthusiastic. The crowd seemed generally unexcited as the Cardinals clinched the series. Maybe it’s because the city had an excess of girls wearing next to nothing that night, but even the leers directed at the skimpy-clothed waitresses seemed almost mechanical. And we paid $10 for a pitcher and $15 for a skimpy platter of meat.

Shortly afterwards, back at Freak House, we paid the same amount for: a burlesque graveyard show, a topless tantrum from a hairy-nippled oversized girl, a coroner’s zombie rape, a scalping, a shark attack, a forced abortion of Satan’s spawn (“I’ll take you out to dim sum afterwards,” the abortioner boyfriend suggests), a sight that Freak House describes only as “scat,” and a tasty shot of Everclear LIT ON FIRE.

So, in the eternal battle that is Freak House v. Hooters, who shall be the victor? As my friend said, “it’s basically comparing boobs to penises.” Again, I am not a man. But I think you know which one won for me that night.

Bar Belle Ratings

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