Punk Rock Bar
by Timm Carney

A Punk Rock Bar is a beautiful thing.  A thing to be celebrated and cherished.  A true punk rock bar is an unsung hero and deserves to be worshiped.  Where else can the ugly, the dirty, and the talent less be stars? Sure, there are good-looking, clean, and talented punks, but they are few and far between.  Punk rock has always been a celebration of “the wrong”.  The outcasts coming together became a viable genre eventually celebrated by mass culture.

The roots of punk rock are punk rock bars. A punk rock bar should be dark, preferably black. Loud music is always playing in a punk rock bar.  The next most important thing: cheap beer.  The bathrooms of a punk rock bar are vile.  A punk rock bar bartender is either hot or an asshole.

Bands that have never played anywhere and sometimes never again are the opening acts.  Sound check?  Yeah right. A punk rock bar should have a room the size of a large closet.  for the bands to stow their equipment and put stickers on the walls.

Punk rock bars have the most diverse and tolerant crowds.  Punks don’t hate; they’re just pissed off.  As long as you are into the music you are totally welcome in a punk rock bar.  If there is a fight in a punk rock bar it is purely personal.

The pit.  The pit is something else.  The pit is the X, the variable, never the same twice.  “How’s the pit? Who’s the band?”  Fast and sweaty describes a punk rock pit.  If it’s not fast and it’s not sweaty it’s, not punk rock.  It’s just loud.

If a punk rock bar’s cover is over ten dollars tell the door guy to fuck off and walk away. A punk rock show cover is cheap that’s all there is to it.  Any punk rock band charging more than ten bucks is not playing in a punk rock bar unless it’s CB’s.  CBGB’s is the proto-type of a punk rock bar; the father of all punk rock bars an international cultural landmark.

Punk Rock has moved beyond a mere musical style; the ethos of punk rock infuses the politics and mores of generations.  There are punk rock grandfathers walking around in our society with their punk rock grandchildren.

The Safari Lounge is the quintessential punk rock bar. Located on an alley in an old nut store Providence’s Safari lounge embodies everything a punk rock bar strives to be.

Bad acoustics and a crappy stage take up one corner, behind the bar is either a total hottie punk rock chick or a 50ish ex-speed freak with an amazing lady’s mullet.  Either one of these broads can kick your ass.  Seated or enthroned at the end of the bar is the owner; the king of his punk rock domain.  The owner of the Safari Lounge looks like he may actually live under a bridge.  This is his place and if you piss him off you’d better get the fuck out.  Those are the rules.

On the back wall by the squalid lady’s room and fetid men’s room is a glass case.  Living in the glass case is a 12-foot yellowish-whitish constrictor.  Occasionally the constrictor is fed and a rat is dropped into the tank.  Rapt punk rock boys gather around the tank while their girlfriends wait in line to pee between bands.

The best thing about the Safari Lounge is the cover. Zero, no charge. Three sometimes four shitty bands will play on Friday and Saturday nights.  A lot of hair has been swung on that stage.

The buildings around the Safari Lounge, once vacant office and retail spaces, now house scores of Trendy People.  Trendy People don’t like punk rock bars.  They’re too loud, too dirty and attract the wrong people.  Trendy is punk rocks enemy; it the age-old good vs. evil story.

A punk rock bar is always being threatened with closure.  Every cop knows every punk rock bar.  Just being in a punk rock bar makes you a suspect.  The sidewalks in front of a punk rock bars are littered with cigarette butts and smokers. The real fun often happens in front of a punk rock bar.  But be you Goth, be you Metal, be you gay, whatever, there will always be a night for you at a punk rock bar.


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