The Bar Belle: McFadden’s vs. Camelot

McFadden’s vs. Camelot
2401 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W. / 1823 M St., N.W.

Expectations ran high last Thursday night.

It had been made known to me that Vanilla Ice would be gracing McFadden’s with his presence that night. Ice, it seems, has been meeting and greeting at every McFadden’s down the coast, from Boston to Kentucky, and Thursday was the District’s lucky night. The Internet abounded with rumors of a blasted Robert Van Winkle rapping a taste of “Ice Ice Baby” while pouring drinks behind the bar at a Boston McFadden’s.

How the lamest 90s celebrity happened to engineer the lamest publicity tour in the lamest bar chain in America is a lame college reporter’s wet dream. I decided to brave McFaddens for the chance to check out V. Ice rockin’ the mic like a vandal.

I should have known when I left my house on that eerily warm final day of November that I would not be seeing any Ice that night. I would, however, be seeing four women take their clothes off to the hits of the 80s, 90s and today – but that comes later.

First, I had to get into the bar. Confronted by a $10 cover at the door, my friends and I huddled to formulate a game plan when my quite-drunk, quite-good-friends-with-the-bartender friend stumbled by and let us in as a conspiratorial bouncer asked that we “act natural” while he “looked the other way.”

By the time we had (1) maneuvered through the basement bar’s breeding ground of bootie-shaking hotties, (2) gone through three pitchers of Miller Light as (3) the bartender’s friend recounted how when he met that other icon of 90s innocu-rap, M.C. Hammer, he held his hand out of reach for a high-five and teased Hammer that he “can’t touch this,” before (4) promptly passing out on the table, it was (5) nearing midnight, and (6) V. Ice was nowhere in sight. We decided to cut our losses. Soon, a single word escaped from someone’s lips, and it was all over. That word, friends, was “Camelot.”

Our expectations, crushed by overexposure to McFadden’s and the non-appearance of our childhood icon, rose as fast as pants in a strip club as dreams of naked women and low overhead lights raced through our heads. I had heard from several of my friends that the place was classy, the dancers great, and the crowd low in the sleaze factor.

I’m not one to comment on the stripping ability of strippers, so I’ll just say that, if nothing else, the one woman that I touched was very soft. Beyond that, the place was mildly uncomfortable; surrounding us were tables of older men sporting variations on “Creepy Moustache” and “Creepy Goatee” engaging in activities like “Creepily Staring” and “Creepily Standing Too Close To the Strippers,” and our four Coors Lights were $30, nearly a 1,000% increase from our drinks at McFadden’s.

It’s hard to say what’s more disappointing: the tease of Vanilla Ice or the tease of the women of Camelot. Since I know those girls work a hell of a lot harder than a washed-up rap accident who can’t even show up to get drunk with a bunch of hot college girls on time, I’ll give it up to the naked chicks. So stop, Ice, collaborate and listen: next time, take your meet-and-greet to a bar where the girls, at least, get paid to take their clothes off.


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