Music After sunset

The Davenport's dance-floor mayhem

Downtown at night is a playground for the curious, full of oddities and awkwardness. I decided to take a walk downtown and the soundtrack for my evening stroll was a medley of drunken college boys singing the night's prophecies like a Shakespearean chorus, but their insights were drowned out by the roar of an Airlife helicopter rising Godlike over the Central Library. Their voices drifted and faded as I outpaced them on my listless pursuit of adventure.

The Davenport: Downtown SA's liveliest dance club (Photo by Mark Greenberg)

Passing the mighty Municipal Plaza, I spotted the same sleeping white-haired elder I'd passed hours earlier on my way to lunch. Beyond him, many more slept, curled and oblivious, on the shadowed stoops of the Travis Park Methodist Church. But that scene quickly transformed into the youthful trot of Saturday-night superstars in halters and tight jeans on their way to dance and flirt their corporate worries away. They knew where they were headed, and their easy determination was infectious. So I followed them.

Together we passed windows of urban art and touristic jewelry, the dark beauty of the Majestic Theatre, and the stiff brightness of the Houston Street Bar and Grill. Then they stopped and I realized we were at the end of a line of people waiting to show IDs and enter The Davenport.

While living downtown, I've viewed The Davenport as an accessible place to go on a summer afternoon for a cold drink and a large window overlooking the strange displays of street urchins and lost tourists. It is dim and cool and unassuming, a good place to write and relax on a hot day.

But I'd never been on a "Supa Saturday" night, when the steady rhythm and high-pitched vocals of a girl-trio R&B dance tune pulsates into the street. DJs Donnie D and Gibb were drawing quite a crowd and I was eager to let loose like the rest of them. When it was my turn, I flashed my ID and eased my way in, quickly snagging the last unoccupied stool at the bar. Once adjusted to the dark, my eyes panned the circus of pretty boys and babydolls draped strategically throughout the main room. The voluptuous and vibrant bartenders danced their way over to take orders, Britney-braids flapping sassily behind them. Their black studded belts and ass-shorts competed with the female patrons for male attention. The music was a perfectly funky mood-setter for hipsters out on the town.

The scene inside The Davenport was definitely a make-out crowd. Everywhere I looked I saw couples breaking up, making up, and seducing each other. I was shocked and awed to view the cocktail waitress balance her drink tray in mid-air for 10 solid minutes while she was happily groped by a gentleman in a stunning white jump suit.

While sipping my beloved tequila and OJ (The Davenport has many specialty drinks and martinis, but I felt like sticking to my staple), I watched the mating call-and-response of tipsy singles waltzing downstairs where Donnie D and Gibb stirred the crowd with hot dance tunes designed for sweating and gyrating. Directly behind me, I spotted an orgy in the making: Two guys with stiff collars and massive amounts of hair gel were indirectly competing for the attention of an olive-skinned Madonna. I was convinced their efforts were paying off when suddenly the sweetheart's not-nearly-as-attractive friends surfaced from the underground and whisked her away, out the front door and gone forever.

I chuckled to myself at their loss. But before I could order a second drink they were swarming over a couple of new arrivals at the bar next to me. I don't know what got into me, but I was suddenly struck by an intense desire to fuck with the dudes.

My first trick was sort of a knee-jerk reaction to the womanizer's greasy, fat hand that had comfortably situated itself over the back of my chair (connected to an arm, mind you, that within seconds had wound its way around the honey's bare back). I took a sip from my second cocktail and then jumped backwards off my stool violently, thrusting the guy's hand unattractively into the air. "Wow!" was his response, so elegant and profound that the ladies could not help but notice the wit and charm of their predator. The group was mostly unfazed, however, and soon the champ's paw had returned to my stool-back.

My desire to embarrass the overly-confident horn-ball had not waned in the least. I would have to employ other methods. I decided to write on his hand, something silly and meaningless. I approached his slimy pinky with my ball-point ready to attack, and I slashed a long, black line across his hairy knuckle. But the guy had become suddenly clever, choosing to pretend that he was not being targeted and simply play it off. He quickly pulled his hand from my chair but did not look back at me. He clearly knew that I was messing with him but decided that to it was probably better to not make a scene. For all he knew, I was the best friend of that red-headed college freshman he'd used and dissed a couple years back.

He nonchalantly grabbed a napkin from the bar, dabbed it into his vodka tonic, and wiped away the evidence. But I had apparently made him anxious and uncomfortable because he then announced to his comrades a desire to relocate and they whisked their new lady-friends down the stairs into the DJs' domain.

The Davenport

200 E. Houston St.
(210) 354-1200

I was hooked, and so I followed, not close enough to be noticed, but near enough to see where they would end up. The dance floor below was packed with many more hotties, and my target group easily filtered into the crowd. Arms spread and pelvis writhing, my man was enveloping his prey with the readiness of a vulture.

I shimmied my way through the crowd until I was back to back with the guy, and I swung my booty at him so hard that he fell forward, head-butting his blond dance acquisition in a clumsy fumble. Before he could turn around and catch me in the act, I had run back up the stairs and out the front door, having fulfilled my adventure quota for the night.

On my way home, I again passed the sleeping hordes who cared nothing for the hyper-reality from which I'd come. I didn't know why I had become so agro at The Davenport, or why I had derived so much pleasure from tossing a monkey wrench into some random guy's pursuit of a weekend conquest. Maybe it was just my way of blowing off some corporate steam of my own. Either way, I thought, I'm sure the guy found true love whether or not I had anything to do with it.

By Brooke Palmer

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