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Cantina’s Staff Appreciation Party

We had the holiday, no, staff appreciation party for Cantina employees and friends last week. What was supposed to be a leisurely Sunday lunch followed by a mellow bar crawl  for us to hang out together beyond the confining box of the bar didn’t go as planned.

We went to Bodega Bistro— one of my favorite restaurants in the city—for lunch. Unfortunately, lunch was planned for 2 p.m., but the kitchen shuts down at 2:30. So instead of eating slowly and in a relaxed manner, we sort of pounded the food, as well as the copious amounts of wine we brought (most of which we left to the good staff of the restaurant, which closed while we were still there, though they mercifully let us stay and continue to make fools of ourselves).

Conversations on erudite subjects ranged from what exactly the contents of this Vietnamese omelet were to who could determine most quickly the 80s pop songs playing over the stereo. As if that descent into the squishy, sad and in poor taste wasn’t enough, the Cantina brigade continued on to the Mint, which on a Sunday afternoon is just not that inspiring of a place. I became fascinated, however, with watching the singers from the television in the back of a bar, as the sheer awfulness of it all took me right back to the early days of local cable access TV. Actually, I think someone should do a cable channel of just closed-circuit feeds from karaoke bars all around the country, 24 hours a day.


Christine, Cantina's co-owner, dancing with Duggan

Anyway, of course, Duggan McDonnell, one of Cantina’s proprietors and certainly its front man, was chomping at the bit to get up on stage for attention. It seemed to take forever—two tequila shots—for his name to be called, and when it was, he gave some sort of hammy rendition of a Britney Spears song. (Thankfully, we left after that song. It must just be me, but I don’t find much joy in drinking at karaoke bars.)

That was the end for me, but the rest of the group continued on to Elixir, where our group ran into the staff of Elixir having its staff appreciation party. For the Cantina staff, there was pain the next day. Lots of it. But I think everyone knew that going in….