“Hey brah, where ya’ headed”?!
“The Library, man”!
“But, brah! It’s Totally Trashed Tuesdays, and we just brewed up 40 wasabi-gerbil anus burners to celebrate Steve’s dad’s vasectomy”!
“Nah dude! Not that library, the other Library”!!
I’m certain the preceding dialogue accurately narrates what went through a geezer bar owner’s head moments before he decided what to rechristen the smoldering remains of the former Firehouse. Great business sense there, really. There’s nothing like a silly gimmick that patronizes your patrons.
Library is like a compact version of Wayside: it’s got a classic beer-and-wings sports bar vibe with hardwood floors, booths, and low-hanging ceiling lights, but also services the inclinations of Saturday night’s drunk, horny freaks with its dungeon of a dance floor. The contrast between the bar concourse and the dark abyss nearby emanating dubstep thumps is probably similar to the defining line between purgatory and the first level of Hell. Upon walking into Library, it may come as a surprise that the interior is fully-lit, and that idiosyncrasy is its distinguishing factor when you compare it with other W. Michigan Ave bars like Y-Bar or Grotto. You can actually see people, which I think explains why the venue is so prone to turning into staging ground for fisticuffs and multi-party brawls. Affording drunk dudes the opportunity to make incidental eye contact (“You lookin’ at me, bro”?) is akin to lighting a match in a closet packed with buffalo farts.
I’ve laid witness to a diverse array of battles at Library; some of which have the potential to one day be re-enacted on the History Channel or, at the very least, serve as inspirational fodder for a match on Monday Night Raw. Library has been host to race wars, bloody stomp-outs, and the instance where I saw a recently knocked-the-fuck-out kid slump face-first into bathroom piss-water. Not that these scenarios reflect positively upon the establishment, but I’d expect a little more class out of a venue that charges me a whole two dollars for cover.
Speaking of which, it’s an unnecessary hassle just to get through the door on Saturday night: two photo ID’s and two dollars. Do you know how long I’ve got to rummage in my pockets to get all of that? For a place that services a fucking “teen night,” why are they so paranoid about underaged rascals sneaking in with fake ID’s? Oh, I figured it out: the ID check is actually about making sure you’re in college. Like Y-Bar, they’ve concluded that restricting their clientele to college students is the optimal business model, as we are more docile and have a vast pool of financial aid money to blow.
While I’ve got my reservations about the entrance policy, I will admit that it really does influence the crowd that shows up. It’s the same social cohort that Y-Bar lures in, except guys have exchanged muscle-shirts for plaid and girls don jeans instead of skirts. Expect a male: female ratio of about 1.5 guys for every girl, which is a technical sausagefest but decent for Kalamazoo.
On a brighter note, at least the girls who go to Library on Saturdays are attractive.
Library is notorious for understaffing to pinch pennies. Even with four full-size bars, getting a drink takes ages unless you opt to hit up the “cash-only” bar, which would be more aptly named the “tax-exempt” bar. However, only geeks and tools whose parents still check their banking statements carry cash, so I too often find myself waiting for drinks for about as long as it would take a sumo wrestler to finish a marathon. Would it really kill them to staff one more bartender at each bar?
That said, the bartenders are amicable enough when you finally reach them, even though they serve up rail liquor swill with a misplaced sense of pride that I don’t quite understand. To contrast, I actually get asked whether I want Jameson or Jack when I order at Y-Bar (if it’s early in the night).
Library’s bar concourse (the lit area), doesn’t have music, which I like because you can actually socialize. The dance floor, on the other hand, is an alternate dimension where half-priced drinks and a mix of top-40, dubstep, and old “classics” have hypnotized clientele into flail-humping sex-zombies. I will admit that I don’t spend much time on Library’s dance floor so I’m not going to pass judgment on the DJ’s music selection.
Saturday: half-off drinks. Beers are $2, a double-shot is $4. Unfortunately, the deal ends at midnight which, once again, highlights the miserly nature of the establishment.
I would say that Library rivals Y-Bar as the top nightspot on W. Michigan Ave if it weren’t for the profound level of penny-pinching that has ruined service there. That said, Saturday nights boasts a cool crowd, so I’d recommend it as that night’s place to be.