Barfly Imperial Valley night life


February 22, 2001|By KELLY RAUSCH, Staff Writer

I've never really liked bars.

If my mother asks, it's because I don't drink. But since she's safely out of this paper's circulation in the deserts of Arizona, I can tell the rest of you the drinking's the best part.

The real problem is bars tend to be crowded and noisy places where people go to be seen.

Coyote Wells on Friday night was none of those things and I thought that was great.

Coyote Wells was so uncrowded it was laughable (for everyone except the owners, maybe). When I got there around 10:30 p.m. there was one, I repeat, one guy standing at the bar drinking a beer.

I have no idea who he was or what he was doing. Had he come expecting to meet some people? Was he a friend of one of the bartenders? Was he lost?


My questions remain unanswered as he left shortly thereafter.

The place looked like a bar ready to do business: open dance floor flanked by booths and tables. The DJ was perched in the corner where he could oversee the dance floor.

As the music played and the colored lights blinked and spun, the fog machine occasionally sent out puffs of "smoke," giving the place that haziness characteristics of night spots.

I know Coyote Wells is capable of drawing crowds; I had some bruises to prove it after one particularly busy night last fall.

For whatever reason, however, Friday was not one of those nights.

With the employees outnumbering the patrons nearly 3 to 1 at that point, the place started to feel a little lonely.

It was sort of like my 13th birthday party (insert dream sequence blurriness here) …

It was 1991. I was so young and full of energy as I eagerly anticipated the arrival of all my friends. I had my hair done up in my best early-'90s style and my denim shorts were rolled perfectly. And there I sat with a dozen pizzas waiting for the people to start showing up …

It still hurts.

But I digress. So Coyote Wells was pretty empty. My trusty sidekick/husband and I made the best of it and had no trouble getting drinks.

Instead of all that "standing-at-the-bar-hoping-the-bartender-will-grace-me-with-his/her-presence-sometime-before-I-sober-up-and-realize-how-freakin'-expensive-these-drinks-are" business, we had refills before we we'd finished the drinks in front of us.

Even if you're only sipping Diet Coke (like I.V. Press writers when they're on the clock covering the bar scene), you've got to appreciate good service.

Other than make me think about that ill-fated birthday party, the sparse population had other drawbacks.

For the purposes of research, my husband and I agreed to volunteer ourselves to be hit on if someone were so inclined.

Seeing as how we were alone in the bar, that was gonna be tough. We comforted each other by tossing out some favorite pick-up lines.

I was about to let him succeed in taking me home when a group of revelers was just then entering the establishment. They ordered up some drinks and hit the dance floor.

Watching them led me to ponder the phenomenon known as the empty dance floor.

To some, it's a no-man's land, a scary place to be avoided at all costs. People who would ordinarily be shaking their thangs on a crowded dance floor without a second thought cringe in fear at the idea of dancing alone where everyone can see them.

Others have no problem with and actually crave the attention of a spotlight dance.

I have a theory about dancers, one I learned from my college roommate Jen Weaver.

Jen Weaver proved the best dancers are the ones who don't care how bad or uncool they look. They just dance.

Another theory is the one that says drunk people look foolish in just about every activity requiring coordination.

Now, I'm not saying the dancing on the Coyote Wells dance floor was bad. I am, however, saying it was entertaining to watch from the safety of my bar stool (I'm one of those who waits for the place to fill up lest I look silly for all to see).

As the DJ began spinning that unbelievably irritating "Who Let the Dogs Out?" song, my husband and I took that as a sign it was time for us to leave.

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