I went out with Annie last night to Old town's best dive bar, Rock It Grill. As the Washingtonian Magazine, my old employer, describes it in their "Best of" issue:
WHERE NOT TO TAKE YOURSELF SERIOUSLY
Rock It Grill (1319 King St., Alexandria; 703-739-2274) is a dive karaoke bar where there’s always at least one person who knows the words to every country song ever written, one person who sings so badly you can’t be as bad as she is, and one bachelorette party going on. Add strong drinks, good dance-music sets, and . . . chill.
Anyway, I always love the Rock it because it's like this blue collar jewel in the midst of uppity Oldtown. A smoky oasis of neon and cheap beer amidst Oldtown's cobblestoned streets and tasteful lighting. Annie and I have been there a few times to enjoy the karaoke (which is every night starting at 9 for those who are interested). The place gets more crowded as the night wears on and it's mostly composed of regulars; these karaoke people know eachother well. I'm always kind of amazed by these loyal karoke-ers who could out on a Tuesday night to sing Whitney Houston's "Greatest Love of all" and are still going at it at like 1:30 a.m. Who are these people?
Last night at the table closest to the stage there sat three men who were nursing pitchers of sodas and O'doul bottles. Annie and I surmised that they may have been visiting from some sort of halfway house facility since the men were of varying ages, but all seemed to have some sort of cognitive delay or disability. They each took turns at the stage, though, earnestly singing a variety of songs (often spoken word) and the BEST thing about Rock It Grill is that everyone in the bar was just as respectful as these guys as they are of anyone else. I loved the older hunched over white guy who stood up to talk his way through Boys II Men's "End of the Road."
It was the first time I've ever really paid attention to the lyrics either, watching them on the screen while the guy sang. And the lyrics are awesome. I wish that there were an occasion that I could launch into the spoken word part.