Thursday, March 28, 2013

A Quick Restaurant Review - The Punchline

There was a time when I hung in Atlanta like they were carting it up and driving it to Canada the next morning. I was in and out of hot spots, grandiose clubs, dive bars, watering holes, not to mention upscale digs, penthouses and mansion parties. And a number of those nights, back when I lived on that side of town, ended up at Cafe 290, a live jazz spot that used to close at...wait, you know, before they put that curfew in place, I'm not sure if they ever really "closed". But, as many times as I'd been to Cafe 290, I'd never ventured into the spot across the parking lot, the Punchline.

When I say parking lot, I mean like there is one row of parking between them. It's tight.

But then I haven't been to a comedy show in a while, and since Sporty had made the tickets a gift, I called up my brother, who has his first "regular people job" in a while and thus who I don't see as often as I used to, to come hang out for a hot second. Because the website was vague about the start times of anything, I arrived very early (BTW, the shows start at 8pm). The walk to Starbucks wasn't bad. By coincidence, this is the same day that March Madness started (it wasn't like an upset might happen or nothing, yesh).

I know my brother had a great time... even before the show started. We spotted his dream car - a Tesla - in the parking lot. I'll be honest it looked like a Jaguar at first, but up close it looked so much better. The owner was happy to talk about it for a few minutes, his wife used to it by now. Afterwards we stood there admiring it, performing a little ritual my brother likes to call, "getting motivation to succeed." Visual success and all that. It is a really nice car, and now yes, even I would like to have one.

But I digress, onto the evening.

Things I learned at the Punchline

#1. Apparently there is something especially funny about sitting on top of the person next to you. I say this because the tables were tightly packed. Sporty and I ate in a Thai restaurant one night that had tables that were in my opinion, a little too close together. The Punchline made that joint look like a airplane hanger. Tight wasn't the word for it. I would have hated to see it packed on a Friday or Saturday. The people who would have been sitting directly behind us, at the next table, actually chose to sit at the bar rather than pack in that tight.

#2 You don't really need to know anybody. I say this because not only were the tables close together, we were sharing them with other people there to see the show. So not only were we scootched up, we were scootched with strangers...a nice mother and daughter who we only talked to for the ten minutes before the house lights when down and the comedians started. Well, they seemed like nice people, who I guess I almost met.

#3 The "two drinks" in a two drink minimum can be expensive. I am currently not a rich man. I'm working on it, getting there, but not quite yet. Still, for what I paid...for two people to have a light dinner and with no appetizer and no dessert? Let's just say you didn't come for the food. Maybe I need to move up to the Tesla crowd, but it may be a moment before I do that again.

The food? Were there any culinary treats, any dining discoveries? Was the atmosphere quaint, cozy and warm? The service a joy?, not really.

To be fair, the comedian was funny. The warm up act was, well the warm up act, but the main guy, Nema Williams, was funny. It was a small crowd, but he was very engaging - talking directly to folks, handing out nicknames, just riffing. No gags per se, but really more of a stream of consciousness that earned his keep, veering from jokes about his life to discussions on how many wall outlets were around the stage (he stopped counting at 13). He wasn't falling out of your chair screaming "stop" funny, but he was good. My brother is already talking about going back. We'd probably need different seats next time.

All in all, it's a old building, and the eats are bar food and they pack you like sardines. But then you don't go for anything but the find a good comedian to go see. You'll still have a good time.

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