Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Chalet

So I've decided that for my first review, I should focus on the bar that has held my heart ever since I first step foot through it's doors. Now everyone has a bar that they know they can fall back to and never be disappointed. A bar that no matter where the night takes you, you can go there and always have a great time. For me, that bar would be The Chalet in Eagle Rock.

Now before it was known as The Chalet, this bar was called Toppers and was one of the more seedier bars in the area. You know the kind I'm talking about. The kind of bar where no matter what time you walk in you're going to find a) a biker, b) a burnt out cougar, c) the town drunk or d) all of the above. Well this place was a definite d choice. 11am or 11pm you'd find the same crowd night after night.

However this was all to change once the place was gutted and redecorated. The Chalet was born and with it came a different breed of drinkers. Hipsters, college students, artists and many others from the surrounding area had finally found what they were looking for! The crowd inside is lively and talkative and the most common thing you'll find is that people generally congregate in groups here. And it's a good spot to come with a large group to throw back a few drinks. Just don't do what I did and LITERALLY throw a drink on yourself...damn Irish car bombs...

Being a semi regular here means I know how to navigate around some of the problems that newcomers face. The parking lot next to the building is almost always full and the plaza a block over is religious with their towing practices. Street parking on Vincent or Townsend will always be your best bet. The bouncers although tall and imposing are very friendly. Don't be afraid to ask how the nights goin or shoot the shit while getting your ID out.

Now that you're inside the best bet is to split up. Have someone look for seats or standing room while the other party gets the drinks. The bartenders are friendly yet busy so know what you want or don't leave them hanging for too long. A plus side to the friendly bartenders are the heavy hands they use to pour the alcohol. Tip them well for making it a little stiffer than the norm. It benefits everyone in the end.

All the music for the place is sourced from one jukebox that is located near the entrance. They have a GREAT selection of classic and indie rock that provides a good soundtrack for the night. It can get slightly loud so you'll have to pack in tight or speak up to be heard. One of the reasons why it's so loud is because there are so many people there.

This brings me to my next point. Show up early if coming in a large group! There are some great couches and a wraparound couch along some of the corners and it's a great place to situate yourself for a night of drinking and story telling. The fireplace will also help to take off that cold chill that followed you in. That in combination with the drinks should keep you toasty all night!

So despite the loud atmosphere and the slightly pricey drinks (hell it's not as bad some other bars "elevate" themselves to be), as long as you know the ins and outs you'lll definitely be treated to a great time at this local watering hole. Hell if you go there enough you're most likely going to run into me!

a quick pic from one of my one of my recent outtings there:

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