I spent the past 2 nights at the Hyatt next to the Long Beach, CA, convention center. It's in the heart of the Long Beach entertainment disctirct, surrouned by restaurants, bars, an aquarium, and the Queen Mary.
And the heart is in desperate need of a bypass.
There are few thing sadder than the restaurants desperately in need of customers. I walked into an Irish Pub and there were just a few tables quietly occupied, yet the room was filled with a desperate vibe and gloom. I walked back out (which probably didn't help with the desperation and darkness). Many restaurants were like that.
The piano bar had the biggest crowd, but that's not saying much. The sing along pianist desperately tried to get the crowd excited about Wham! He enthusiastically belted out a chipper, "Wake me up" and pointed to the crowd for their response.
"before you go go"
It sounded like a group of 8th graders forced into saying "Good Morning," by the teach before starting a math test.
I felt bad for the guy.
I went across the street to find a restaurant that wasn't creepily uncrowded. There was a growing crowd of youths dressed in black and bursting out in dance at vasious intervals. There was no music.
My whole walk seemed like some sort of dream. I kept expecting to find a spatula in my hand and a flower telling me to save the day by turning over the purple.
Instead I sought refuge in the familiar. And that's why I like having chain restaurants around. When the sad/bizarre needle is gliding into the red, there's nothing like the fake Australian ambiance and average steaks of Outback.