The Delicious Life is mostly dining out, and a little more than just dabbling in the kitchen, but I've noticed that the drinking part is seriously lacking. Dry dry dry. Dry as a wine glass at an AA meeting.
But desert dry on the blog is not really for lack of occasions in my real life, for there have been quite a few occasions on which it has been luxuriously lush. I just have a wee bit of a problem, that we’ll just call a sanity malfunction, when I go out for drinks. I forget to take pictues, that is, if I even remember to bring a camera with me at all, and now that I think about it, just where in, on or around this dress-to-impress outfit do you think I could carry a camera?!?! Exactly. In my purse, party girl! Alas, I always tend to leave my purse on some chair or some tabletop as if we were partying in Idaho. Beer goggles? Oh, no no no no. We call it Absolut trust.
I will do better. I swear.
Now, the scene of many crimes is called Phaze, a new-ish schizophrenic bar. It’s a club! It’s a lounge! It’s a restaurant! It depends on how well it’s been medicating itself, I guess. Two friends’ rented the place out to celebrate their birthdays in a sneaky, back-alley, back-handed, “we bring you big bar revenue!” deal with the owner. Dammit. I wish my friends were mobsters, but they’re not. They just said they’d cover the bar minimum and when I found out what that bar minimum was, and did the math in my head, and took into account who our friends were, I laughed. We’d hit that minimum by 10 pm. Doors opened at 9:30, I believe.
Phaze is not in my usual “out on the streets” part of town. It’s also not my usual “out on the town” part of town either (that would be SaMo or Hollyweird). Ha! Did you get that? "Out on the streets?" Are you keeping up? Hey, why don’t we drink some water to sober up a little, okay? Phaze is in Torrance. It’s in the South Bay, and if you’re down with the vernacular, it’s in da South Bay, wassup mah honeez and homeEEeeyz!!!1!!11 I did a search to see just what kind of place Phaze is and the pages that came up all pointed to a clientele of early 20s hipster azians. Please, don’t take offense if you are of that rice-rocket-driving, Sanrio cel phone accessory carrying, Mystic-tanned, high-lightened, frosted tip, uber-hip, pop anime, American wanna be FOB group. I used to be one of you, too. You’ll grow out of it. I almost have. ;)
The drive down the 405 is long from the Westsaaaa-iiiide, and it’s a little deceptive, because the turn off the freeway via google maps takes you right into the industrial Japanese auto maker microcosmos. Wait a second here. *pause* Phaze is attached to a hotel. *blink* The hotel is in HondaToyota-town. Are we going to party it up in some corporate Marriott conference center Grand Ballroom "A" that has been transformed from the previous morning’s Annual Revenue Meeting into...the Junior Prom or a even worse...a wedding reception?!?
We pulled into the parking lot of the Torrance Plaza Hotel and were *shush*ed with a downward wave of the attendant’s hand to keep our engines down. Oh right, please be courteous of our residential neighbors by not revving your rice rockets. Strangely, as we made our way to Phaze’s front entrance, I wondered why our sandals’ clack-clack-clacking was so eerily echoing off the pavement. It was vewy vewy quiet.
We had to interrupt the bouncer/guest list guy from reading. I know I often joke about the Japanese animation craze, but I am not joking this time. The bouncer was reading manga. I thought it was hilarious. He checked our names off the list, which made me feel all special VIP kinds, but in reality, it was a birthday list that has to be done for private parties. Let me live in my dream Entourage world! The bouncer went right back to reading.
Inside, Phaze was set up like a club/lounge, with nothing remarkable about the decor. Most of the tables and chairs had been stacked up and pushed to the perimeter, save for a few set up in a corner for the wallflowers. There’s a flat panel screen toward the back of the space, and I think there might have been a photo/video montage playing on loop of our birthday boy and girl that they had provided to Phaze. The area near the screen is set up more as a lounge with sofas and potted fake plants, but no one was there. All of the action was at the bar.
The actual bar is small, and as a hallmark of poor bar/club design, placed right inside the front door. Our party wasn’t enormous, but for any bar or club that expects throngs of customers, or to at least look like it’s packed like it’s the opening night of Avalon, the bar should be at the back, or at the very closest, in the center of the space. A bar in the front creates a bottleneck at the entryway. Perhaps the fear is that people won’t find the bar, or will be too shy to traverse a grand empty dancefloor, or will be too lazy to go that far back. Customers will find the bar. They can sniff out a Red Bull vodka faster than a papparazzo on Britney. Besides, Red Bull glows in the dark. (It does. Try it) And there should never be any question about shyness from attention. This is LA, for God’s sake. My bad. Da South Bay, wassup wassup?!?!!!111! Even better. :)
If you were already pretty far into your Absolut haze (it took three for me), Phaze very graciously put up cardboard signs written in multi-colored Sharpies, “Order drinks here” so you wouldn’t get confused. The bar was also serving food that night – bar snacks. The had something like popcorn chicken, nachos made with that nuclear power plant plastic waste liquid cheese (which I love), and the most impressive item on the mini-menu, a cheese plate. A cheese plate! Phaze has a cheese plate! And then I saw our bartender boy, his hat flipped around backward over his pop garage punk band hair, toss about a dozen cubes of what looked like Velveeta on a paper plate like he was going for snake-eyes at the Craps table. He stuck a half dozen toothpicks in the cheese and put it on
the bar top. Cheese plate. LOL!
I shan’t go into too many of the antics of the evening, but here are a few words that may tip you off to the kind of evening that transpired as our friends overtook Phaze: tiara, feather boa (remember, there is a birthday BOY here, too), handcuffs, funnel, “They’re real,” and a few other interesting tidbits that shall go unmentioned. Okay, and someone also grabbed my arm and said, “I read you blog!” Okay, now who’s the snitch?!?!
Phaze is not likely going to make any Top 10 LA list this year, Nightlife, Restaurant, or otherwise. It probably won’t make any list next year either. It’s a bit far from me and doesn’t offer anything different or better from anything else that’s much closer.
Except that cheese plate.
@ the Torrance Plaza Hotel
20801 South Western Avenue
Torrance, CA 90501