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    Eat & Swig

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    After your twenty-first birthday, every weekend out on the town is an exciting foray into uncharted waters. You’re still learning what’s appropriate to wear to which bar, which dancing shoes hurt the worst, and just how much a cab ride from one side of the city to the other will cost. But by the time you enter your mid-twenties, you're no longer learning, you're teaching. You feel like a bar-hopping pro, a seasoned veteran of Louisville's nightlife. At this point, Zanzabar is probably your favorite bar. Zanzabar's the place you go when you want to check the ghosts of your ex boyfriends at the door, forget about the the daily nightmare of your tiring job and just dance. So one night at Zanzabar...

    My best friend arrives at my apartment at ten o’clock on a Saturday night. We each sip a glass of white wine as we shade our eyes in the small mirror over my bathroom sink. Our hair is teased up, our dresses short and black, and our heels just tall enough to give us a boost but not precarious enough to send us tumbling on the dance floor. We are fierce, incognito. Our Uber pulls up around 11:30 and zips us to the small Germantown hole in the wall at 2100 S. Preston Street. We don't have to wait in line tonight.

    Arriving at the bar at 11:45 p.m. gives us just enough time to squeeze our way past the glowing pinball arcade near the entrance and through the packed crowd of college-age hipsters, Beyonce look-alikes, Polo-wearing frat guys and tough-looking punk rockers. It's kind of like high school all over again, but this time everyone is a cool kid. When we finally scramble our way through the cloud to the bartender, we each order a vodka and cranberry; $3 each, not bad for what tastes like at least three strong shots of vodka and a merely obligatory splash of sweet cranberry juice cocktail.

    By  11:55 we're at the back of the bar where the dance floor meets the stage; a dark place illuminated by the window to Zanzabar's patio. This is where GlitterTitzDjZ (Garrett Crabtree JR. and Jamey See Tai) are finishing setting up their equipment for their weekly 4-hour Saturday night set of bombastic original remixes.

    By the time the first fast-paced beat mashes with a Nicki Minaj song and begins to fade into the next hip-hop dance ballad, my best friend and I are ready for our second drink, the drink that is sure to transform us from steadily balanced and posh bar-goers into a pair of dancing queens who may or may not need a makeup touch-up in the invariably crowded ladies room. And at Zanzabar, that's a perfectly acceptable transformation. As Saturday night rolls on Zanzabar fills with dancers and drinkers and revelers of all stripes: clutches of girlfriends in bandage dresses are chain smoking on the patio. Mixed groups of men take the dance floor together, rowdy, sloshing.

    My best friend and I each order our second vodka and cranberry of the night and quickly return to the dance floor. The music is even faster now and our dance moves take a turn for the Miley Cyrus. A brief pause for a third vodka and cranberry. The laser light show is awesome. Fourth vodka and cranberry. Is that my old college professor? We close our tabs and call a cab.

    I tip the driver as he pulls to a stop in front of my apartment. It's nearly 3 a.m. and I am exhausted. My hair is a grungy tangled mess, perspiration had pooled at the nape of my neck as a result of nonstop dancing. Though I'm well aware a hangover awaits me, I already want to be back on the dance floor at Zanzabar next weekend, with vodka and cranberry in hand. 

    Photo courtesy of Glittertitz DJZ. 

    Carly Garcia's picture

    About Carly Garcia

    Lover of vegetarian cuisine, Stephen King, puppies, camping and wine...lots of wine.

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