Bar culture is different all around the world,
but every nation seems to have its own version of the local watering hole. Here in the United States, bars are ubiquitous
with night life, and can range from seedy, local dives, to high-end cocktail lounges
where power meetings take place. In the movies, bars are where fights happen,
people hook up, and shady business goes down- but what is it really like to go to a bar
all alone? Once more we’re turning this important scientific
question to your favorite- and our least, but slowly increasing in importance- writer,
as we challenge him to go to three different bars all alone. Day 1: Ok, so this is definitely a different
type of challenge. I read and re-read my email, even asked for
a confirmation, and yep, it seems I’m just supposed to go to a bar all alone and record
my evening. I was expecting a twist, because let’s face
it, there’s always a twist, but everything seems normal. I don’t have to go dressed as a woman, I don’t
have to go wearing my pants on my head and my shirt on my legs, and I don’t have to go
and drink the strongest liquor in the world and see what happens- all perfectly plausible
things one should expect whenever The Infographics show presents them with a new challenge to
undertake. Instead, I just have to go to three different
bars and record my observations and experiences, and I have to go all alone of course. I’ve never really been a ‘bar guy’, and I
don’t drink much in my regular life. The one exception is when me, the girlfriend,
and our mutual friends do a night out in Korea Town here in Los Angeles and do our best to
drink all the Soju currently stocked at every karaoke bar we come across. If you’ve never drank Soju before, it’s basically
rice liquor that’s sort of like vodka but incredibly smooth. It’s so smooth that it’s easy to over drink,
so if you ever get invited to a korean bar and are offered Soju, drink it with caution-
trust me, I’m speaking from years of experience here. Anyways, this challenge will be interesting
I suppose, because I’ve never really gone to a bar alone, and I definitely didn’t go
when I was single looking to hook up, so in a way I don’t really know what bar culture
is all about. Guess it’ll be a learning experience for both
you, the dear audience, and me. The rules are simple, I have to be at each
bar by 8 pm and stay until 2 am when they close, because Los Angeles is a city of party
poopers and bars close early here. Six hours, with all my drinks covered by The
Infographics Show’s tab, I’m suspicious but this sounds kind of easy? See you guys tomorrow morning, I’ll be hitting
up my first bar tonight and writing my notes in the AM. Bar 1: So this first bar turned out to be
a kind of run down local dive bar on the fringes of Los Angeles. The interior was pretty unremarkable except
for the head of a giant boar stuffed and hung on the wall, which was kind of cool. There was a jukebox- yes, a real, live jukebox-
two pool tables, and a bunch of tables to sit on as well as the bar itself. No booths though, and it looked like the floor
was only swept once every three months. Hygiene here was clearly not a priority, and
I don’t even want to talk about the biohazard zone that the bathroom was. I guess this is the kind of place that you
picture criminal figures congregating in and doing shady business, or where fights break
out and people get smashed over the head with beer bottles. To be honest, I was picturing my evening turning
out a bit like Road House, one of Patrick Swayze’s greatest films. By the way, let’s take a time out here to
say that if you’ve never seen Road House, you need to seriously rethink your life priorities. Anyways, my night was relatively uneventful,
and sadly there were no Road House-esque style brawls that broke out. One of the bartenders, an Australian girl
by the name of Lucy, was friendly enough- but not in the fake, flirty friendly that
she was with all the regular customers. I guess being a new face made her curious
about who I was and what I was doing there, and it makes sense she turns on the charm
for the old-timers who she can pump for fat tips. Let’s take another brief timeout and have
a serious word with the guys in the audience now: waitresses and bartenders get paid to
be nice to you. Just thought you should know that, because
judging by how many times guys try to hit on these girls, it’s clear somebody’s not
getting clued in here. About the only notable occurrence of the night
was a very old man whom in retrospect, I’m guessing was suffering from some mild and
undiagnosed mental illness. He was very suspicious about who I was and
what I was doing there, and kept questioning me. I told him I was a writer working on a piece
about bars in Los Angeles, and he kept eyeballing me the whole night like I was a secret CIA
agent. Lucy told me he’s a regular and he’s always
like that with new people. Everybody else though was pretty chill, and
mostly just kept to themselves or their small groups. People stayed a long time though, nursing
drinks and either sitting alone watching the tv, listening to music, or talking to a friend. Most of the crowd, save for Lucy and I, were
older, and it was interesting to see that very few of them messed on their phones. People my age seem to never get off their
phones, and yet I hardly saw a single person texting or checking their phone for more than
a minute or two. Just a bunch of people living in the moment-
though that moment was pretty much doing nothing. First night turned out pretty uneventful,
and you know what, local dive bars may seem seedy and have a bad reputation, but chill
little spots like this can be kind of a nice place to unwind. Bar 2: If night one was uneventful, that’s
only because life was saving the excitement for night two. This second bar turned out to be a upscale,
popular spot in downtown Los Angeles on top of one of the skyscrapers. The view was incredible, and so were the drink
prices so I’m glad that Infographics was picking up the tab- though I’m not sure how they’re
going to react to my expense report… I’m not kidding when I say the drinks were
expensive. This was in every way a complete opposite
of the previous night’s bar, and instead of looking worn down, old, and kind of… well,
sad, this place was sleek, clean, and ultra-modern. To get to it you first had to go through the
lobby of the building and take an elevator up past a burly bouncer checking Ids. I noticed he was doing more than checking
Ids though, he was checking people as well. I’ve seen this before- I’ve hit up a few clubs
with the girlfriend and our friends before and these guys are supposed to make sure that
a good ratio of men and women both fill the place up. Can’t have too many men or too many women,
a nice ratio is important to encourage people to keep coming back. Typically single guys are dead-on-arrival
at these places though, so I was surprised when I got past the bouncer and got allowed
up, made me wonder if Infographics had something to do with this, and just how far does their
influence really go?! At the top of the building the view was incredible,
I could see LA spread out in all directions like a giant carpet made of light. The bar had an interior section and and outdoor
patio, so I decided I’d spend half the night indoors and the other half outdoors At the
main bar there were three bartenders because the place was so busy, and I ordered a gin
and tonic and immediately got offered a selection of gins that made my head spin. I didn’t even know there were that many companies
that made gin. I randomly named a brand and got my G&T, and
then sat back alone to watch and observe. The place was full of pretty upscale people,
who were almost all… well, very good looking. Not gonna lie, it made me feel a little bit
better that I got past the bouncer downstairs after realizing that. Most of all though, people looked like they
had money, and with $24 drinks I guess they would need to in order to chill up here. It wasn’t long, maybe twenty minutes or so,
before a very beautiful girl approached me and sat down next to me. She ordered herself a drink and then began
to make small talk. It took me a moment, but then it hit me like
a mac truck- this girl was a prostitute, or in these parts, better known as an escort. I knew it right away because years and years
ago I used to work security on the Vegas strip, and I got to know everything about how these
women operate, even had to arrest a few myself for getting violent. This time though I was the John, and the experience
was immediately surreal. I decided to play dumb and kind of go with
it, this after all was part of the challenge, right? Because I know how escorts operate, I knew
she would try to clinch the deal as fast as possible- for these women time is money- but
I knew that first she would observe me to see if I was even worth the trouble, and to
make sure I wasn’t law enforcement. We talked for a few minutes and she asked
me a lot about myself, which is of course, part of the game- when they ask Johns about
themselves it makes them feel special and important. Then she asked if I wasn’t going to offer
to buy her a drink, to which I said no, because I don’t buy women’s attention with drinks. She was shocked for a moment, and then kind
of laughed. I had meant it as code, to warn her that I
wasn’t going to pay for her services, but also it’s true- even when I was single the
few times I did go to bars or clubs I refused to buy women drinks unless I had brought that
person with me. We talked some more, and a surprising thing
happened- she figured out I wasn’t going to pay for her time, and that I was there for
something else entirely. I spilled the beans about my job and we talked
for a half hour, swapping stories. There’s a lot of stereotypes about these kind
of women, but turns out that they can be quite normal and friendly even. We said goodbye after a while, because she
did have a job to do after all, but I kept catching her eye as she hunted for potential
Johns and we’d both laugh. That would’ve been a great way to end the
evening, an interesting experience with a bit of a heartwarming ending. But of course, these challenge episodes are
never that simple, are they? I feel like The Infographics Show has a deal
with a devil somewhere, and this devil manipulates fate to put me in terrible and awkward positions
every chance it can for the sake of entertainment. So at around midnight I decided to try the
outdoors, and immediately went back inside, because it turns out that when you’re thousands
of feet up in the air and it’s late at night, it’s damn cold outside. I went back to the bar and not long after
I got back, another woman approached me. This one however, was wearing a wedding ring,
which immediately set off a new set of alarm bells. She asked if I’d like to buy her a drink,
and of course I refused again, though this new woman didn’t think it was as funny as
the girl earlier. Then I pointed out her wedding ring and asked
if her husband would like to buy her that drink. She smiled at this and looked over her shoulder,
then pointed out her husband sitting on the opposite end of the lounge by himself. It turns out that there’s a whole secret night
life culture in places like this, where single men go to bars and sit alone- and while typically
they may be there to score a working girl, other guys are there to signal their interest,
and availability in something else entirely. To make a very long story short, this woman
was there to score one of these guys, and The Infographics Show is a family friendly
show so I’m just going to say that her husband enjoys seeing his wife being very friendly
with other men. I naturally declined, and spent the rest of
my night wishing the clock would move faster, though an hour later- it happened again. Ok. Now I get it, this is why Infographics picked
this bar. Well played. Bar 3: I can’t write much about Bar 3, because
my night did not last very long at all. If Bar 2 was kind of crazy, Bar 3 was completely
off the rails insane. This time I was off to the outskirts of Beverly
Hills, and immediately I knew the night was going to be… interesting. Turns out Bar 3 was a very popular drag bar,
and let me be clear about this: there is a difference between a gay bar and a drag bar. Yes, drag bars feature men who dress up like
very outlandish and over-the-top women, and while some are gay, not all are. Also, women dress in drag as well at these
places, some are straight, some are not. Drag bars are a chaotic, insane, extremely
high-energy, and kind of weirdly wonderful places full of every different type of person
you can think of. Immediately I got snatched up by a group of
queens who spotted me from a mile away- probably because I was dressed very normal in a place
where most people had at least thirty minutes worth of hair and makeup work. I got pummeled with questions until I spilled
the beans about why I was there, because apparently I was sticking out like a sore thumb. They promised to take me under their wing,
and you know what- I had an absolute blast. Bar 1 was kind of relaxing and low key, Bar
2 was… weird and kind of uncomfortable, but Bar 3, which was outlandish, insane, and
completely over-the-top in every possible way, was the funnest night out I’ve had in
years. The place featured a runway which encouraged
anyone dressed up in drag to hop up and strut their stuff, and this in turn would lead to
them challenging others to beat their strut, until the evening turned into a fashion show
where all the clothes and makeup looked like Willy Wonka had thrown an LSD-themed party. I even got thrown up there myself, despite
being in normal clothes, which in this place pretty much made me the weirdo, and you know
what- I strut my stuff and I had a blast. Then suddenly my night was over, because the
next thing I remember is being helped to the front door by two of my new drag queen friends,
who handed me over to my very bewildered girlfriend. I’m pretty sure I only bought one round of
drinks, because the whole night everybody kept buying everybody else drinks, and they
did not stop. I think I drank enough Lemon Drops and Jello
shots to kill a small horse, because shortly after getting home I puked a rainbow into
the bathtub. Let me tell you, if you think frat guys or
soccer hooligans are hardcore drinkers- you’re wrong, because these queens will drink you
under the table and still be sober enough to put on the most amazing impromptu fashion
show you’ve ever seen. Also, I can’t stress this enough, these were
some of the nicest and most generous people I’ve ever hung out with. There it is, challenge complete. Three bars in three nights, and I gotta tell
you, I kind of had a blast with this one. I plan on going back to Bar 3 sometime, because
I honestly had a lot of fun, but I couldn’t make it a regular thing- mostly because I
don’t want to die of alcohol poisoning. Got another amazing challenge idea for our
guinea pig to explore? Let us know on our website, and as usual if
you enjoyed this video check out one of our other crazy challenges, and don’t forget to
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