Barfly: Backstage

Editor's note: As a rule, we don't run "bad Barflies" because negative reviews often say less about the bar, and more about Barfly's pent up aggression towards his father and his suppressed abandonment issues, devolving into the kind of rambling, bludgeoning criticism usually reserved for out-sourced tech-help receptionists.  However, in the interest of pure entertainment, we're including this review of Backstage - a bar whose generous attempts at restitution still couldn't sweeten the sour taste left by Barfly's first impression.

Imagine that it's August of 2005, and you live in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans, and you just caught your wife banging your best friend and the plumber at the same time in front of your dog.  Then you wake up to find it was all just a bad dream, except you really live in the Ninth Ward, and it's actually April of 2010, and you just went halvsies on a shrimping business.

That's what it's like to spend a night at Backstage.  I could save 1000 words by showing you a picture of what my night was like, but they wouldn't let customers take pictures – at a BIRTHDAY PARTY!  I don't know if you've ever celebrated a friend's birthday in public, but having the bar you're celebrating in request that you stop taking pictures of each other at a birthday party is like being at a rock concert and being asked to use your inside voices.

Dear Backstage bar staff:  it's a karaoke bar in Culver City, not an A-List club in Beverly Hills.  If you want people to enjoy themselves at your bar, stop being so aggressively pretentious.  It's as if you're challenging your customers to give less of a shit about karaoke bars as a whole.  Backstage is the bar equivalent of those middle-aged women who still go to clubs, shooting tequila and wearing tee shirts with slogans like "It Ain't Gonna Lick Itself" across the front in rhinestones.  And while I can at least suffer through being inside a drunk, snobby, 35-year-old woman for a couple hours, Backstage would come in dead last if I had to choose between drinking a pint inside its crowded bar, or drinking a pint chest-deep in baby shit.

The drinks were under-poured and over-priced, and while this isn't the first bar I've reviewed to offer disappointing drinks, it's the first to reject the idea of compensating for bad drinks with excellent service - the staff was too busy telling us they were too busy to even crack a smile.  I'm assuming management thought this would make the bar appear to be hip and edgy, but it just makes Backstage appear to be a bar full of pompous prima donnas who stand around expecting to earn your hard-earned cash by hardly earning it.  It's called customer service,not customer loitering.  If I had to rate this bar on a scale from one to bacon, it would be a cellulite-buttered bagel.

Despite all of this, the company I kept carried the day, and we ended up having a pretty good time - I just wouldn't want to give any of the credit to Backstage for facilitating this.  All I'd have to do to make our night infinitely more pleasant is relocate my party to essentially ANY other structure on the planet.  Like an outhouse.  Or a shooting range.  Or an S&M dungeon with no safe word.

It comes down to this simple rule:  If you want to open a bar, and all you want to do is make money and be blatantly rude to everyone in general, don't open a bar.  Do something less deceptive and more directly offensive.  Open a plumbing business and bang married women in front of their pets.