It’s 10PM on a Saturday night, and Mike and I are walking the streets of Vancouver, BC. We’ve been in the city just over 24 hours and have explored Stanley Park, Granville Island, and Gastown. We’re ready to cut loose — and cut a rug.
I know what you’re thinking. “Seriously!? Dancing? For the love of all that’s good, you’re MARRIED. Act your age.”
We had those thoughts too. But we dismissed them quickly. Dancing is fun.
Getting to dance? Not as fun. No one told us that Vancouver does an incredibly good job masquerading as New York City; when the sun goes down she puts on a little lipstick and suddenly she’s running down the street in a mini-skirt hailing a cab. Really, V? Just who do you think you are?
Things begin optimistically as we have dinner at a chic and lively restaurant called the Cactus Club. It attracts singles in their late twenties and early thirties, our dream demographic (we are 25, but being married adds five years). We have a great dinner and decide to ask the wait staff for some recommendations for a local club or lounge that wasn’t disgusting but wasn’t sterile either. Please, we beg, don’t send us somewhere that has STDs on the walls, but we don’t want to go to a bar at the Hyatt either. Tell us there’s middle ground!
“Head six blocks south on Granville and you’ll see Sip,” she explained. “Totally hip but completely relaxed. And no cover.”
So we start walking down Granville. We intentionally dressed to impress in case of strict codes at any of the venues we visited, but we managed to wear weather-appropriate attire; not so for many of the other revelers of the night. Apparently 35 degree weather doesn’t deter hundreds of Vancouver women from wearing mini-dresses with bare backs. I am in a small dress too…but with leggings and a long, cream-colored wool trench — toasty warm and laughing with relief at not being naked on a winter’s night.
We are stunned as we go further and further down Granville; every single club we pass has velvet rope outside the door with fifty people waiting to get inside. I look at Mike. He looks at me. We keep walking.
At last we spot Sip and approach the door. Naturally, there is a black velvet rope preventing the passing public from mistakenly thinking they are welcome in this lounge. I make the split-second decision not to act cool.
“Hello,” I say to the bouncer. In my mind I can see my 22-year-old self running down the block to get away from the embarrassment of my 25-year-old self who couldn’t care less.
“Do you have a reservation?” the large man asks us. I almost laugh.
“No, we don’t,” I say as Mike steps forward.
“Table for two,” Mike says, and the bouncer looks at his clipboard.
“Let me just check inside and see if I can get you in,” he replies, surprisingly politely. It occurs to me that even though this whole charade is ridiculous, it still has the power to make me feel weak, like I’m at risk of being rejected from my own high school prom.
“I don’t have a table right now, but you’re welcome to wait upstairs until something opens up,” he offers. We bite. Upstairs we go.
Except that there’s not one vacant seat upstairs, even at the bar. I turn to Mike and say “This is so not worth it. Do you realize the heels I’m wearing? I’m not spending $10 a drink to stand in five-inch heels.”
He visits the bouncer once again, and it works. We scoot inside as Mike hands him some cash, but he politely declines it. Maybe this isn’t New York after all; I forgot Canadians can be so nice.
We take a seat on the bench just inside the door, not caring in the least that we are technically still in the entry — we are just grateful to be inside while others continue to wait in the Line of Shame outside.
Just then a waitress looks over at us, horrified, and says “Why are you sitting there?” We’re instantly ashamed. What? We don’t belong? We’re not fabulous enough? Is it that I’m not half-naked?
“You don’t need to sit there!” she cries. “There’s a table for two right here!” I thought I would melt onto the floor with relief.
Like I said, Canadians can be so nice.
After a couple of drinks and many more laughs, we’ve sipped Sip and we’re full.
We start walking down Granville toward our hotel, in search of our next spot, this time with dancing, we hope. We stare agape at the lines that have grown from one hundred people to several hundred, lines that snake down the sidewalk covering half-blocks.
We finally come across a bar that seems super cool and doesn’t have a line, but is busy inside. We step in and look around to confirm there’s dancing. There’s definitely dancing, but it’s only coming from the girls on staff in top-hats, fishnets, and silky bras shaking from the balcony for everyone’s enjoyment. Mike abruptly turns around and walks outside. This is beginning to feel hopeless.
He turns to me when we’re in the cold air. “There’s an insane party happening in room 711 at the Hotel Le Soleil. There’s wine and champagne, there’s room service, and there’s an incredibly attractive redhead…want to go?”
Do I ever.