Sunday, October 2, 2011

Adventures in Bako - The Padre Hotel

Last night I finally got the chance to go out on the town in Bakersfield. Having been urged several times by multiple people to check out the Padre, we decided to give it a go.

There are a few things that a person needs to know upon entering the Padre.
  1. It's an old hotel that has been renovated.
  2. It's the kind of place that you go to see and be seen.
  3. You won't believe you're in Bakersfield.
That's just for starters. We only made it into the downstairs bar and dance club which was enough to give us a general idea of the place. It struck me the number of blond heads present - and the overall height of the clientele. People who go to the Padre are tall - about a head taller than me, and I'm not short. I felt like I had stepped through a portal into Santa Barbara or some other place where tall blond-haired people frequent.

In addition to this, the clientele ran the full range of ages. There were people who looked like they had recently turned 21 (well, at least their IDs said so - though I couldn't believe it judging by their faces) and then there were people who had WHITE hair (looking for a sugar baby?).

The strangeness of the demographics for the location aside, the place was hoppin' and it was cool. I particularly liked the gray paisley seats and the techno music at the bar. The dance club had an unfortunate cover of $10 which made it out of the range of most people these days (think: anyone without steady income or a steal of an apartment rental) especially if you wanted to get drinks TOO. That said, when we did go inside, they had cool laser light shows going and were playing an interesting mix of top 40 from the past and present. Besides the incredibly packed nature of the room, it was perfect for dancing.

This would make it fine for a second visit, except of course, there is the bathroom. I have to mention this because it might be the only trans-gender friendly  bathroom in Bako (I don't know this for certain, but it's worth mentioning). The bathroom has separate stall areas for men and women, but the sink area is unisex. So, don't be surprised ladies if you walk in and see 5 guys at the sink checking their hair - seriously. That happened to me last night.

I will say this - the Padre is not a hipster bar. It is not the kind of place you go if you want a super stiff drink and to look at art (at least not the first floor - but I fully intend to check out the roof next visit). It is however full of great people watching and reasonably fun ambiance/dancing. Plus, the bathroom is weird enough in concept that you need to check it out, if only for the "oh shit" factor. I liked the decor, and I enjoyed myself. I will definitely check it out again. And, if you're in Bako and you have an L.A. sensibility, it is *definitely* the place to be. And that is whether you wear white leather shoes, plaid shirts, shorts, or not. Everyone is there.

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