Big super reggae blast this night at Corvintetö, everybody's favorite socialist-era shopping center-turned-pick-up joint.
The show was A Reggae Kiralynöje Magyarországon. The line-up was one of those byzantine stacks of underground DJ heroes that you have to be a full-time promoter to be familiar with:
Dawn Penn (Jamaika)
Kings Hi-Fi (UK)
Captain Midnite (Jafa Mafia)
Sun (Memo Rec.)
utána Deck Attack (Infragandhi & Cyborg Templar)
Corvintetö has a small dark lounge area in the entryway corridor with its own small bar, a main bar area with booth seating and a small stage, and an upstairs outdoor beer garden area, now closed for the season. The main bar is decorated in funky velveteen-ish wall coverings and melty plastic mini-chandeliers.
The booze selection ranges from average to pretty good. Some good Polish vodka, Some different American bourbon. If whiskey drinkers find anything other than Jack Daniels here in B-town it's a miracle on ice.
When it comes to varieties of beer on tap, the bars of Budapest have some catching up to do with the rest of the civilized world. The usual selections here: Dreher, Gösser and Soproni.
But I was pleased to find Soproni Fekete Demon on tap here. I thought this might be a glimmer of hope for us stout and ale drinkers in town, but unfortunately this breed of Soproni isn't much more tasty than their lager. Ah but progress requires patience.
And drinking Soproni Demon gave me the chance to toast this week's Barack Obama victory with my friends in this way:
"Szeretem én sört mint szeretem én preszidentek - FEKETE!"
The music was damn good. Some remixes of old Trojan classics and lots of good new stuff. Not the sleepy complacent Deadhead variety, but a lot of urban grooves that got rumps out on the floor. As to which DJ megastar was spinning what, that is known only to God and the video crew.
OK, so about the social atmosphere. Yes, among other things the Corvintetö is a pick-up joint. If you doubt this, check the website and promo cards for this place which are not subtle. They underscore the meat market aspect of the Corvintetö experience by listing their attractions over a very lifelike image of a raw sirloin steak.
This is truth in advertising. Beginning at 9 the patrons filtered in and cast long lingering looks at each other as they queued up to order a round of the bar's many binge drinking cocktail offerings. By 10 p.m. the music was cranked up to levels where only Neanderthal grunts and primitive hand signs could pass for communication. And the games began in earnest.
Our group was not completely aloof from this activity. A female friend of ours, single and growing tired of it, continually scanned the crowd for likely male prospects. Unfortunately her taste doesn't run towards the dreadlocked Sziget Fesztival type, so this evening found her pickings pretty slim. But she's an upbeat, positive thinker, so in an attempt to broaden her horizons she switched from white wine to Bacardi Breezers.
I sighed and cast a dubious eye. "If you have to start pounding those things at Corvintetö on a Friday night to find a guy," I said, "you might as well just climb on the table, hike up your skirt and point at it".
By 1 a.m. Dawn Penn, the "undisputed Reggae-Queen of Jamaica", had still not appeared so we gave up on her and followed many others to the taxi-go-round.
One more thing - I'm happy to note that Pinball is still alive at Corvintetö. Creature From The Black Lagoon and the incomparable Funhouse are found adjacent to the cloakroom and await all true fans of the chromium orb. I amazed all in attendance by serving up ace after ace on Funhouse, leaving the boys of the backroom in shock and awe of the American left-hand technique, and five sweet credits to fight over.