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    Cover photo courtesy the Cure Lounge Facebook


    “Two whiskey gingers, please.”

    “You want ginger ale or ginger beer?”

    She looks over her shoulder to check with her friend. “Ginger ale.”

    The bartender ducks under the bar, sets two plastic cups in front of her, and swings a stream of whiskey back and forth, one cup to the other, spilling it in the space between, until both of them are a good 80 percent full. Then he tops them off with a fizzy sip of ginger ale.

    “We’re going heavy tonight,” he says, string lights a dull halo over him. “We’ve got a lot of booze to get through.”

    By 11, the last night of the Cure Lounge in Germantown has already filled the place with a veritable census record, and owner Alison Freels is getting ready to go on a beer run. There’s an old man with a Wilford Brimley moustache, two CW sitcoms’ worth of beautiful young people, representatives of every letter in the LGBTQ acronym, white folks and black folks and brown folks (though it’s mostly white) and at least one reveler of the non-human variety — Morrissey the Russian Blue cat struts along the bar, taking selfies, his tail a smoky question mark, utterly unperturbed by the crowd and what sounds like Jawbreaker blasting in the next room. Tonight is emo night and a spring break get-down, a pity party and a pawty pawty, the tragic conclusion and the last hurrah. Up front’s all #getsad songs, as the Cure posted on Facebook; in back’s “spring break” foot-moving throwbacks.

    These walls, striped like Beetlejuice’s suit, have seen drag shows, circus acts, haunted houses, something called “blood wrestling,” arm wrestling, rap battles, karaoke, bazaars, the popular “Double Eve” Christmas party and damn near everything else you could imagine. Freels didn’t want it to end, but she’s holding it together tonight, even if some of the folks coming up to her aren’t. She’s got too much to do to let their tears be contagious. There’s been some not-so-positive back-and-forth between her and the owners of the building — she tells me she was contacted by a lawyer — and she hadn’t expected to be out the door so soon. A DJ who has been spinning at the Cure Lounge since around the time it opened in 2014 says he saw a listing for the building online shortly after Freels learned the owners wanted her gone. Already rumors are circulating among the crowd; “It’s going to be a Walgreens,” someone tells me, though there’s no indication of that.

    For now, members of the lovingly-titled “Curemmunity” can only dream about whatever Freels will do next. But she says there will be a next. “It’s going to be a little while,” she tells me. “But I can’t just walk away from this. I’ve been bar tending over 20 years. It’s in me. It’s just what I do.”

    Dylon Jones's picture

    About Dylon Jones

    Dylon Jones is an award-winning poet and essayist based in Louisville, Kentucky, where he serves as web editor of Louisville Magazine.

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