jb12.10.jpgDuring the cold winter freeze, I ducked into Argus Lounge with a
hankering for a hot buttered rum and some jukeboxin’. Instead,
there was a happy hour DJ, DJ Katy, not to be mistaken for me, DJ Katie.
So I turned right around and froze my ass home.

The next night I made another hot buttered rum attempt, and was successful, although
the music was turned down low and the handful of the neighborhood regulars weren’t paying attention to the music — they were chattin’ it up
with either the bartender or each other.

Two sets of people were in some
pretty deep relationship talk, and I felt a little uncomfortable
sitting in the Last Supper booth eavesdropping. One woman even said,
“you’re a real man, and I want you in my life, but not that much.”
Ouch! I physically winced. She was wearing fancy high heels, and he was
wearing some hiking sandals with socks, so I didn’t wince that much. Then he kissed her, and I winced for real.

Then it dawned on me: the Last Supper booth is one of my favorite spots to
sit and quietly attain a nice 6pm buzz. But I have only played the juke
once, and only because it had free credits. I’ve never had that OCD
feeling that I need to play music here,
like at some bars where the minute I slap down my tip, I’m heading
straight for the box.

On my Jukeboxin’ mission, I discovered that the Argus has a very
decent jukebox, although it’s one of those places where one isn’t
needed. Or maybe even wanted? There’s a sign over the bill slot that says “Please inform bartender before rockin’ the box or your money will be eaten”. Because I
didn’t want to bother the bartender and a conversation with her friend doing shots and
eating Burger King, I nixed playing anything. And I’ve never seen it played.

Since this bar is close to my house and makes great, cheap, strong
cocktails, I’ve been here many times for happy hour, and I’ve also
ended up here late at night with crashing out-of-towners
before heading home for burritos and unneeded shots of vodka. Later in
the evenings, they usually have DJs or bands. The juke
doesn’t seem very important.

So I was pleasantly surprised at their guitaric selections like
Django Reinhardt, Getz/Gilberto, Sinatra & Count Basie, along with
90’s rock like Hole, Beck, Elastica, a category all on its own: the Trojan
Rocksteady Box Set (one of my favorite collections of all time), more
moderns like Interpol, Franz Ferdinand, Kings of Leon, mixed with The
Police, The Jam, Gang of Four, Dee-lite, and finally – Stones, Neil
Young, Ry Cooder, and Dire Straits. It really is well-rounded: cool,
calm, collected. Maybe that’s why I don’t have the want. Because the
Argus doesn’t need it. It has enough character on its own.

Where: Argus Lounge (3187 Mission St @ Valencia)
Good for: cool, calm, collected, and a little drunk gatherings.
Bad for: playing the juke.
Cost: probably free. check with the bartender.

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