There was a time last week when I was in our classroom (a swirling mass of screaming toddlers) that I thought I heard my phone receive a text. I remembered hours later to check my phone, and yes! There was a text from Hubby asking if I was free for a date on Friday night. Date night? Hmmmm. How unusual, yet how lovely! My first response was, “But . . . what will our friends do without us at Hop Central on Friday night??” Friday has become a regular night to see friends and to support this new local tap room near our home. The owners are still working their day jobs at Intel, and we are trying our best to keep them afloat, one IPA at a time. But how can a girl pass up an invitation for a date night?
Friday evening finally arrived, and as we were sprucing for our date, sure enough, I got a photo text from Louis which showed an empty beer glass. I harumphed aloud, “Why would he wait until his beer was EMPTY to invite us?” But I texted back that we were having a date night and wished the group a happy Friday to all. It’s always nice to have an invitation, isn’t it?
Hubby and I headed out to this new place in Gilbert (a 20-minute drive) to a “speakeasy” called The White Rabbit. One must get on their email list, then wait to receive the weekly password in order to gain access to the club. We were intrigued! We arrived and easily parked in the free lot directly across the street; typically parking in downtown Gilbert is very difficult. At the door, we were greeted by two young men dressed in suits. “Do you know the password?,” they asked us in hushed tones. “Penicillin,” I whispered. (The establishment has a Prohibition theme, and penicillin was discovered in in 1928 by Sir Alexander Fleming while experimenting with the influenza virus in London. You’re welcome for the history lesson.)
We were made to wait five minutes before they moved the velvet rope and allowed us to descend to the basement lounge. We opened the door to a dark, long hallway, lit only on one side and decorated to be an old-timey apothecary. Rows and rows of antique medicine bottles lined the wall. In front of us was a book shelf. When I realized there was no clear entrance, I immediately felt claustrophobic. Hubby pushed at different parts of the wall, and both of us were feeling quite ridiculous. Then Hubby noticed a large brass rabbit on the book shelf and pulled it towards him. The bookcase swung open to reveal a loud, dark speakeasy with a long mirrored bar and a beautifully decorated space. The wait staff was dressed in twenties attire, and the whole vibe was very up and fun.
They are known for their craft cocktails, but eff me, I’m not paying $14 for a small glass of fruit juice with various splashes of six spirits. The IPA I normally would pay $5 for was $8. I reminded myself we were paying for the ambiance. There were only six items on the food menu, and we decided on the meat and cheese platter for $18. (I apologize; I am frugal in the most annoying way.)
It felt fun to be in a new place, dressed up, Hubby in a sport coat and me with my sexiest red lipstick and my hair up. We held hands and talked about our days, sharing a kiss in the dark club. Work has been so hard for both of us the past few months; it felt great to have this romantic end to our hard week. We haven’t done this type of date for a long time. We smiled at each other over the candle light and listened to the sweet old depression-era songs.
Our meat and cheese board arrived, and I frowned. OLIVES! Nothing on the menu mentioned anything about olives! I HATE OLIVES. And pickled peppers??? I HATE PICKLED PEPPERS. There were three different types of yummy cheeses, including a spreadable Guinness cheese, but only TWO crackers. Seriously? We asked the waitress for more crackers . . . and she brought us TWO more (lol).
Trying to maintain the romantic momentum, I tried not to give much energy to the terrible smells of the olives and the peppers. I happily sipped my IPA and nibbled the cheese and sausage. That’s when I realized the sausage bite in my mouth was so gristly. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to swallow it. I persisted, chewing that flavorful bit of fat like it was a piece of Juicy Fruit gum, but it did not diminish in size, and there was no way in hell it was going to fit down my gullet.
Hubby and I have been married 30 years, but it was DATE NIGHT. I wanted to be a lady; I wanted to be on my best date behavior! I waited until he looked away, then picked up the small empty dish that had held those vile pickled peppers. I quickly spit the gum-sized gristle into the dish . . . and somehow managed to spill the tablespoons of pickled juices onto my chest, down my cleavage. I felt ridiculous.
A beautiful young woman at a nearby table nearly spit out her drink laughing at my discomfort. Hubby looked over to see my chest and blouse wet. Embarrassed, I mopped at my chest with my napkin and said, “Good thing this isn’t our first date, right?” Hubby laughed and kissed me . . . and said, “I love you.”
Life is good.