I am a fan of all things awful. Anything truly dreadful: movies, TV shows, comic books, musical acts, pottery, whatever. To clarify, when I say bad, I don't mean bad like the Dolph Lundgren “Punisher” bad, I mean bad like “Leonard Part 6″-style bad. The kind of bad that makes your hair hurt. For some reason shit like that just entertains the hell out of me.
“Mission Impossible 3″ almost made the cut, but Tom Cruise just ruins anything he puts his hand on, even bottom-of-the-barrel shit movies like MI3. I couldn't enjoy the crappiness because of his Xenu-loving assfuckery.
But let's talk about what I do love, and that is terrible, shitty dive bars. Now that I've moved, and I am relatively certain that the organized crime brigade that runs this bar doesn't know where I am, I can tell you all about it: Parrotta's Alpine Lodge.
Two of those three words are lies. I'll leave it to you to decide which two.
The neighborhood is shockingly ugly, even for Chelsea. If this shit section of this shit city used to house something vital or interesting, or even vaguely helpful, that time has long passed. You stand on the street and do a 360, and besides the bar you will see:
- an enormous, 10-story pile of sand that the city of Boston uses on the roads in winter
- a burned-out used car dealership
- a burned-out brick warehouse
- a broken cobblestone road leading to a burned-out marina
That's it. So, in we go. First thing you notice is t
he smell. It doesn't smell like most bars – sweat, booze, excitement and people. No, here it just smells like despair. What does despair smell like? Mothballs, old ashtrays, very dry wood, the sticky residue left on the booze shelf that hasn't been cleaned in years, broken dreams, and piss.
So, walking over the buckled floors, you peer reluctantly into a back room filled with highly questionable individuals. A broken jukebox. A bar that looks like your grandmother's dinette set from 1965, ripped vinyl stools to match. Past the disused kitchen full of aged, rusty cooking apparati, you find a filthy bathroom with exposed plumbing and substances collecting in the corners that invite much speculation.
A fine place.
The last time I went there, Barry and I were coming from someplace where I'd already had a few too many, which makes the prospect of stopping at this bar all the more attractive. At 11:30 on a Monday night, Parrotta's was deserted except for the constipated looking, crusty bartender covered with old Navy ink, and a drunk-ass security guard, playing gin rummy together.
We were taciturnly served our drinks, and I struggled to make conversation. “Oh hey, I love gin rummy,” I said. “My grandmother taught me how to play on her farm in northern California when I was ten. You guys have room for a third in the game?”
Bartender looked at me like I was made of poop and said “No.”
The bottom line is, there is absolutely no good reason to go this bar, and that is why I love it.