Mex's dance party hops, but service falters

ON NIGHTLIFE

June 28, 2007|By SAM SESSA

La Boom had a long fuse.

The Wednesday night deck dance party at Mex in Power Plant Live took awhile to get rolling. But by 11:30 p.m., the place was packed with partyers.

We went the Wednesday before last, which was actually the last La Boom. Mex's managers had a dispute with the promoters and decided to change the name of the event but keep the same DJs, said Elby Bonnet, Mex's server manager.

When we arrived about 9:45 p.m., there weren't many people inside or out, and we thought it was a dud. So we sat inside for a minute and planned our next move. My girlfriend, Amie, would head outside and try to grab a table or seat at the bar, and I would get a drink at the indoor bar. Little did I know how hard that would be.

I originally wanted to try Mex's mojito, which was suggested by a reader on the LIVE blog (shameless plug: baltimoresun.com/midnightsun).

But I stood there at the bar with money in hand for five to 10 minutes while two bartenders, one bar back and a manager completely ignored me. One of them drank from a bottle of water, a couple made drinks and another just stood around. Only half of the bar seats were occupied, and I know they saw me. They just acted like I wasn't there until I got so annoyed I walked outside.

A bunch of guys and only one or two women hung around the deck bar early into La Boom. I walked up to the female bartender and asked for a mojito. Mex doesn't do mojitos, she told me. They don't have any mint.

No mojitos?

?Que?

More annoyed than I was before, I asked for a bottle of beer instead. The bartender tried to sell me a bucket of five beers for $15. I told her I just wanted one of the $3 Mexican beers advertised on the La Boom fliers. She hadn't heard of the special, and tried to sell me a bucket of five beers for $15 for the second time. I repeated myself, and she checked with the other bartender, who confirmed the special.

What unnecessary frustration -- just to get a drink. I finally ended up with a $3 bottle of Dos Equis lager, which came with a lime wedge partially jammed into the open top.

From then on, whenever we needed drinks, I sent Amie to the bar. Women almost always get served first, and she had no problem bringing back more beers and $5 gin and tonics.

The outdoor dance floor stayed dead until about 11:15, when it suddenly exploded (heh) with people. I'm not sure whether it was a certain song, or just a collective decision to rush the deck, but dozens of people seemed to come from nowhere and start dancing. Amie and I stared in shock for a minute, then jumped up from the table and joined them.

The DJ spun a remix of Shakira's hit "Hips Don't Lie" and a couple singles from the '90s, which were weird choices, but the crowd loved them. I was surprised to see so many people out dancing on a Wednesday night. But I was even more shocked by the crowd's diversity. Early twentysomethings got down next to late fortysomethings, and everyone was in good spirits.

La Boom was still raging when we left shortly before midnight, and it looked like some people were still arriving. Mex had a great weekday party going with La Boom, and I'm sure it will stay that way, regardless of what the event is called. All it needs now is some better service.

sam.sessa@baltsun.com

Mex's Wednesday night dance party starts at 9 p.m. at 26 Market Place, in Power Plant Live. For more information, call 410-528-0128 or go to mexbaltimore.com.

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