An Entire NYC Club Thought I Was A Waiter

A confusing, sad, and possibly lucrative situation

Time To Read: 5 mins | March 10, 2017

If someone told you that a baby unicorn was on sale for $1, it wouldn’t matter that the timing was bad or that your apartment’s not big enough or that your girlfriend’s allergic to unicorn hair, you’d buy that fucking unicorn.

That’s why I’m in New York. There was an insane sale on one-way tickets from Dallas to LaGuardia, so I, inspired by martinis, pulled the trigger on a last minute trip. What’s the point of living out of a backpack if you’re not making ridiculous random decisions?

But much like an impromptu unicorn puppy, this little getaway got really expensive, really fast. When you’re used to spending $20 a day on all your food and liquor needs, it’s a tad startling when that’s the cost of a single cocktail in the Meat Packing District.

I was out to brunch with a few friends from college, all of whom have the sort of careers their parents can brag about in country clubs. Their job titles have no fewer than 5 words each, usually including terms like ‘Senior’ and ‘Advisor’ and ‘Executive’, which really don’t mean anything but sound special nonetheless.


They actually do the jobs they went to fancy schools for.

So when that crew decides to have a day out in Manhattan, it costs the GDP of a small African nation. And when they’re entertaining their slightly underdressed nomadic friend – I wore a white button down, but it was more wrinkled than Hugh Hefner’s balls – they pull out all the stops, regardless of the fact that his job title doesn’t include ‘Senior’ nor ‘Advisor’ nor ‘Executive’.

We hit 4 or 5 of the poshest bars in the district. My knowledge of Manhattan geography is shit, and when I’m drinking it’s doubly so, thus I can’t give you a play-by-play run down. One place served me a rum cocktail in a ceramic pineapple; another, some hyper-chic rooftop bar on the Hudson, almost didn’t let me in on account of my boots being covered in the stains of the dive bar the night before. But I batted my eyelashes at the flamboyantly gay host and he gave me a pass.

All of this, mind you, happened between the hours of 1 and 7 PM. We turned brunch into a high-end pub crawl – or, as I started calling it halfway through, a snob crawl. Which my friends just loved.

But I mention the early hours to illustrate just how terrible one of these bars was in particular. It started with a B – Baggati? Bageltoni? I’m sure someone familiar with the area can guess where I’m talking about from those half-assed spelling attempts, but I’ve since taken to simply calling the place Bagadouchey.

We arrived at 3:30pm on a Saturday. Meaning the sun was still in the sky and normal humans are relaxing at home watching Netflix in their pajamas. But this place already had 20-strong line outside, everyone’s dressed to the 9s, and the bass from the speakers inside was threatening to blow the toupees off the Armenians in front of us.

My buddy’s girlfriend took the lead. The tall, beautiful blonde walked right up to the bouncer (again, it’s 3 fucking 30pm) and started trying to talk her way in. It didn’t look to be going well – she was escorting 3 boys. Which I understand is problematic for high-end nightclubs at 1:00am, but for an early afternoon cocktail?

Then something happened. The bouncer looked up, his demeanor shifted, and he nodded. The girl quickly ushered us forward; the other two guys said thanks to the 6’6” security guard, but when I went to do the same, he beat me to the punch: “Sup Malcolm.”

Already knowing the answer, I asked our friend what she said to gain entry. She apologetically admitted, “I had to tell them about Survivor.”


Any place that only lets you in by namedropping is probably not going to be my scene, and my suspicions of douchery were confirmed the moment we walked in.

The only lighting is pulsing red LEDs and white strobes. People are dancing on couches in little black dresses and tailored suits. Everyone’s drinking champagne. There’s a performer in Michael Jackson’s Thriller outfit holding sparklers. A rasta dude is playing a drum while wearing green Christmas lights in the corner. And there’s a 6-foot tall baby dancing in the crowd.

So much nope.

Even my socialite friends quickly admitted this was too much, so we agreed to grab one drink, then get the hell out of dodge. One of our crew volunteered the only suggestion I’d agreed with in the past hour: “These need to be doubles.”

As we waited by the bar, I felt a tap on the shoulder. Cute girl, probably my age, dancing with four of her friends. I turned around, and she hesitated for half a second before laughing, “Oh my God, you look just like our waiter!”

Not entirely sure what to make of that comment, I played along and laughed for a couple minutes before turning back to my cocktail. My friends asked what that’d been all about, and I explained as best I could.

Then we moved to another spot in the club. Not that this improved anything; I’m not sure how much I’d have needed to drink to enjoy this scene, but I was very far from it. So our 4-strong crew stood in a circle, drank our doubles and acted too cool, until I got tapped on the shoulder again.

This time it was man, mid-30’s and completely outside his skull on liquor – he smelled like a combination of fancy cologne and tequila, which is exactly as horrible as it sounds.


He put his hand on my shoulder, pulled me in close, then yelled into my ear, “Can you bring me another chardonnay?”

It took every ounce of conscious I have not to respond, “I need your credit card first.” That would have taken care of the stupidly expensive cocktails for a few hours, until he reported it missing. But instead I put on my best friendly server face and said, “Of course sir, right away.”

All my friends heard this, as they made clear by doubling over in laughter. Now we were putting the pieces together, and started actively searching for what we knew must exist.

We spotted him a few minutes later. Dirty blonde-haired server, unshaven, wearing the exact same white button down as I was, hurriedly clearing empty glasses. His hair wasn’t quite as glorious as mine, he was a bit taller, but you could understand the confusion from the wildly intoxicated 4:00pm club scene.

It was good for a laugh, we agreed, and made this excursion into NYC’s overwhelming Bad Romance-looking party worthwhile. We polished off the rest of our whiskey and starting pushing through the mob for the exit.

I was grabbed a third time. Now it’s a very pretty Asian girl, wearing a flannel shirt that loses all credibility for being extremely fitted. “Can you help me with something?” she asked while her friend watched from a few feet away.

My response came from the best place possible, but in hindsight, she obviously didn’t see it that way: “Sorry love, I don’t work here.”

The girl shot daggers out of her eyes as we moved away towards the coat check. It took a couple minutes for everyone to don their jackets; as we turned to leave, I gave one last glance back at the party, and the small group of Asian girls we’d just left.

My doppelganger waiter was now with them. He posed for a picture with the second girl, the one who’d been hiding behind the flannelled chick that’d grabbed me. After that, he handed the same girl his phone, and she promptly added her contact information.

God dammit.


photo: little guy just wants to show off his dental work. outside dominical, costa rica

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Malcolm Freberg
Malcolm Freberg
American writer living permanently on the road. Believes rye whiskey is superior to bourbon, Belle is the best Disney princess, and that selfie sticks should be snapped in half on sight. Hosted a travel documentary for AOL & played Survivor a few times.

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1 Comment

  1. Anon

    Bagatelle. Your Bagadouchey is Bagatelle. They take brunch to a whole new level.


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