The doors finally open on one of the elevators and like lemmings we all sausage into the space.
Cassie is so curious and wondering what’s happening after sitting in a noisy Irish tap room for an hour. “What is this new, mysterious place Charles has taken me to?”
Ten years ago I was with a friend, and it was Center City Sips.
Center City Sips is a nightmarish program that the city has come up with to extend the bar/restaurant week out in Philly.
They figured if the offered $3 beers, $5 wines, and $6 cocktails, ever Wednesday from spring through fall they could extend out the week and keep business going in the summer when it’s slow here in Philly.
What they created was a night when young people with little money came out and drink their faces off on every Wednesday at most of the best mainstream spots in the city.
The industry people hate it, because they’re over run by young drunk people that don’t tip properly and they only make money on pure volume.
But the sad point is, if the bar/restaurant doesn’t participate in this shit show, they can’t be a member of restaurant week, which is another shit show of losers being able to come to their restaurant and get a three course meal for $35.
Its all been created by idiots to think they’ll generate more income for their bars and restaurants during the slow season, but the staff lose money and hate it all.
I get it, and have done my best to deflect from these places during the season when I can.
Which leads me to R2L.
I was with a co-worker of mine and we wanted to go out and blow off some steam when we worked for a major news company in the city. I told him everywhere was a shit show, and he asked if I knew of any place that we could go and drink to get away from all of the drunken youth.
I took him to R2L
“Why do you know about this amazing place and you never told me?”
R2L is a premier spot that has such a great view that it’ll blow the doors off whoever you’re with guaranteed, if they’ve never been there.
The view of all of west and south Philly is glorious. The bar is dark and posh, the entire place quietly screams discretionary hook up.
Not for me tonight because I don’t roll that way, but let’s lay the ground work for the future.
Cassie is captivated by the place immediately.
Of course… I’m the master of cool dating spots.
“Oh my god! This place is awesome, Charles!”
Baby heads to the bathroom and quickly returns.
The bartender asks what we’d like to drink. I tell her just to get me a Manhattan. Cass tells me she wants the same.
I tell her I need to stop and use the facilities.
(A couple of Victory Summer Love beers get the middle-aged bladder going.)
I get back and see my drink. It’s perfect.
Things are going well tonight. I ask her about my Manhattan.
“Bulliett Rye with a brandied berry up.”
“Oh my God. That’s my go to. You too, Cass?”
Our glasses clink and we sup. I really like this girl.
But let me just step back here. Cassie seems really nice. Cassie seems really fun. But Cassie still stinks of damaged goods. (sorry)
She mentioned at Bonner’s how the last time she was back in L.A. she saw her emotional and physically abusive ex and spent time with him.
Red Flags are burning the sky at this point. I look to the the heavens and all I see is red flags.
I could have fun with this flight attendant but there’s some serious mileage on this sports car.
Cassie drives through her first Manhattan with great vigor. This is a party girl. She’s 31 in her profile at the salon but look much older, which could be booze and coke mileage on this sweet lady.
I don’t care, and I’m happy to be with her today on my loser day off.
We have some truffle flatbreads and another round of Manahattans R2L which I know will cost us a small fortune. That’s the singular reason I never go there anymore. That, and the mediocre food.
Cass is supposed to meet some girlfriends at 7:30 and I’m ready to be done. All good, but I just cant do long sessions with anyone anymore except my friend James from the talent agency. I could hang with him for a week anywhere in the world. Because he’s an interesting guy.
We call for the bill. It’s like $98 of nightmare. That never happens in my life anymore. I never see a bill over $30 because of my influence.
The beauty of this moment is Cassie whips out her credit card and pays half.
I know I have been writing this damn blog for over three and a half years and you all know me. I got killed on so many dinner bills with so many women, I was never able to connect with, it made me feel so empty.
Cassie kicked in and it just felt healthy, fun, and right.
We close out and head to the elevator. We ride it back to earth and are both feeling the glow of a great afternoon.
We step outside and are standing under the awning with several other guests.
An insane rainstorm begins.
I heard it may rain, but not the insane, bullet droplets, complete wash off the city deluge, that’s crushing everyone.
We’re huddled under the over hang with other people that are clearly already soaked. Cass is trying to get an Uber. She has to meet up with her girlfriends!
Cassie doesn’t know the city, so when she calls her UBER, she has know idea where he is especially in the rain.
“I’m not from here. I don’t know where that is.”
Looks at me in panic.
“Give me your phone.”
Me: “Hey man. What do you see? H&M? Okay. Turn your flashers on. We’ll come to you.”
I grab her hand. “Come with me.”
It’s pouring raining. I’m navigating my girl to her Uber on her phone. I lead her through the soaking rain, and puddles at 16th and Chestnut as a complete stranger. A girl I just met.
We arrive at the car. The driver smiles at me. I hang up on her phone. I look at her and tell her that I’m dropping her somewhat wet phone in her bag to protect it.
I expected nothing.
I yanked the passenger door of the Nissan Maxima open to place my lady inside.
Cassie grasps me before she gets in the car and kisses me on the lips.
Off her car goes, and the rain intensifies. I scamper to a Septa bus stop for shelter.
The rain kills the city with it’s intensity. I’ll just stand here until it lets up.
Maybe I can go to Marathon bar and grill and beg for a lost umbrella.
I don’t really care. I actually had an awesome day off that turned into a sweet date.
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