Sometimes, after a long hard week, it's difficult to muster the energy and enthusiasm for a big night out. Sometimes you just want to find a dark, unpretentious bar where they'll pour you a strong drink, where you can hear some groovy music that sets your mind to wandering away from all that you've been dealing with, a space away from home where you can talk with your friends and unwind enough that when you leave, you feel refreshed and ready to take on something new. Thank God I found that space last Friday at The Matador on 6th Street during Sick, a minimal techno night that started up last November.
Last week was a rough one for yours truly, since I was not only dealing with the usual mental and physical exhaustion after two long and active weekends on the party circuit, but, in writing my review of Further Confusion 2008, I wound up sticking my hand down into a hole full of angry badgers. Links to that review wound up being posted on a Livejournal community, and all around on various boards and forums, so that by Friday I had the highest number of daily hits (351) that I've ever gotten on this site, and I found myself embroiled in defensive manuevers on several different boards at the same time; while some were supportive of what I had to say, there were those who also felt that the best response was to say what a terrible, stupid, vapid, nasty person I must be to have not had a good time at that event. Worse, I found that I had unintentionally offended a good friend of mine, resulting in a tense phone conversation on Thursday night. I wrote and wrote and wrote, trying to clarify and refine the things I had said in my earlier post in the hope of opening up a more constructive dialogue, but by Friday evening I felt like I was getting into an extended tennis match with several different machines shooting balls into my side of the court, and I quickly realized that I was just one person, while there hundreds of potential opponents. So, after dinner on Friday night I turned off the comments for my FC posts, cancelled the reply notification for the topics I was following on other boards, and decided that it was best to let those who agreed or disagreed with me battle it out on their own. After all that what I really wanted on Friday evening was to be out someplace where I didn't feel this nervous itch to log in and check my email. We already had plans to stop in and say hi to the folks at Lucky Pierre, but since The Matador was kinda on the way, I thought it might be nice to stop off and have a drink there; as it was, we wound up staying for three.
The Matador was known as The Arrow Bar in a former incarnation; I never went there, but I've heard stories about it being a dark, dirty, cavernous hole that was well-loved by the attendees of Frisco Disco when it was in that location. I'm pleased to say that the deep, dark hole aspect is still present, though the cave decor, if it was ever more than just a metaphor, is gone. The Matador seems to be one of those ancient San Francisco bars that has somehow just kept going through the decades; it's narrow but deep, with a bar running down most of its length to a small DJ/dance area in the back. The wooden and mirrored bar with the gold Deco accents put me in mind of a working man's saloon where you'd stop in for a belt on the way home, and the Spanish matador kitsch decor was just enough to bring some humor to the surroundings without being ovewhelming. The young Asian guy behind the bar poured us a couple stiff drinks, including a very reasonably priced ($7) Red Bull and Blueberry Stoli concoction, and eventually we wound up having a conversation about Freud.
I'm unsure how I first heard about Sick, though it's been going on since early November, another little mushroom popping up in the San Francisco techno garden. When we first arrived the music was on the knarzier side of the minimal spectrum, but the boyfriend and I both remarked on how wonderfully tight the mixes were. We had a drink and thought it would be cool to hang out for another, just to see where things went. The second DJ came on and, after a bit of a problem with getting the levels set, embarked on a nice journey into slightly more abstract but still groovy territory. The only track we recognized was Supermayer's "Two of Us," but that should give you some idea of the overall flavor of the set. We were thrilled that, not only were the drinks good and the music fine, but that the volume of music was low enough that we could have a real conversation while sitting at the bar. So, we ordered up a third round.
If we hadn't already been planning on going to Lucky Pierre I would have been quite content to hang out at The Matador all night, getting smashed and listening to techno. We arrived between 9.30 and 10.00, and left between 11.00 and 11.30, and during that whole time a few people came and went, but it was far from being crowded; it would be interesting to hang out later and see how that scene develops as the night goes on. Regardless of the crowd size, it's a great place to get a Friday evening techno fix (Sick happens every Friday between 9PM and 2AM, and there's no cover), whether you're out and about early and just want a pre-party drink, or you're looking for a nice atmopheric joint where you can settle in for the night.