Disclaimer: For my entire life, I have refused to wait in line to get into a club or bar, no matter how hot the venue. I don’t care if Jesus himself was cutting a rug inside; I ain’t waiting outside. I would rather swallow a jar full of bees than wait in a line outside a club. That’s how much I don’t want to wait.
So last night I waited in line outside of Lift, a club by cRAIG mITCHELL. Without a doubt, this had to be the most anticipated club opening in Burlington since... um, I don’t know what. Let’s just say that Lift is the Bluebird Tavern of clubs — there’s a huge amount of hype surrounding it. Warranted or not, people wanted to get in here.
Let’s back up a bit. Lift, for those of you who aren’t dedicated club kids, is a new venture started by turntablist of some renown Craig Mitchell, who used to spin the decks in Burlington a few years ago before he became rich and famous and left the Green Mountains. The club is occupying the space left vacant by the former Second Floor, the college ghetto of clubs. People who pay attention to the downtown Burlington scene have been waiting for something to happen to that space. And now something has.
Last night, Lift had its soft opening. Of course, being a Burlington scenester and a dedicated people-watcher, I had to go check it out. Normally, being old and decrepit, I don’t go out on school nights, but I made an exception. Now I sort of wish I had stayed at home, petting my dog and eating Ben & Jerry’s out of the carton.
My partners in crime and I rolled up to Lift at 10:15 p.m., 15 minutes after the whole shebang was supposed to jump off. Never did it enter my mind that I might have to wait in line. This is Burlington, not Brooklyn. But the line stretched back to Big Daddy’s Pizza, and it was there that we assumed our rightful place — at the ass end of the queue.
I had to chuckle at this turn of events, but my laughter quickly subsided when I realized that I sort of felt like a loser waiting in line. People gawked at us as they drove by or walked down the sidewalk. If I was an important person, I wouldn’t have been waiting. (Also, if I had bigger mammaries, I wouldn't have been waiting). Thus my queuing was further proof that I’m not as cool as I think.
Anyway, we waited in line for at least an hour, inching slowly forward while thick-necked bouncers with earpieces barked at us to get against the wall and make room on the sidewalk. How authentic! Finally, I determined that this was for the birds, this waiting business. We hadn’t moved from our spot in front of Vietnam 2 for about 20 minutes, and my patience was wearing thin. If I had silky blond hair and were wearing a pound and a half of makeup and three-inch stems, I wouldn’t have had to wait, like the many girls who got in before us just by standing and giving pouty bedroom eyes to the doormen. Again, very authentic. I made an executive decision.
I am a member of the working press. Therefore, I should be able to get carte blanche access anywhere at any time. I pulled the media card on the besuited bouncer and bounded up the steps to see what all the fuss was about.
Here’s what I found: industrial office carpeting, asphyxiating new-paint smell, an uneven floor, Fattie B spinning and not Craig Mitchell, a line for the bar five people deep, people who looked like my dad, not many homos, a lot of skin, two roped-off “VIP” areas crammed full of people who looked like they were in the Russian mafia, many large-screen TVs, some dude banging an electronic drum kit on the dance floor, sideline gawkers and picked-over cheese platters.
I did a few laps, took a few mental notes, looked for anyone I knew, tried to scam some free crap and then went down to retrieve my friends from the line. This was nothing worth waiting hours for. It was reminiscent of so many clubs from my college days in D.C. The ones that college kids could actually get into because the people checking IDs really didn’t care if your driver’s license said you were a 75-year-old from Syosset named Mildred Finklepearl.
I still have hope for the club. I’m sure that as the owners get more capital, they’ll turn it into a classy joint with sick DJs winding the ones and twos (not to say that Fattie B isn’t sick). But I still won’t wait in line for it.