The Bar Tab 

Bittersweet

Dolce, “a seductively inviting ultra-lounge,” has an equally seductive website, but don’t succumb to its wiles; I spent the first part of the evening driving aimlessly through industrial parks, following the online directions.

A cordial gentleman gives me phone directions and my friend and I arrive in a
Dolce
18322 Sonterra Pl.
845-5257
Dolcesa.com
Price range:
$3.50 beers-$19.50 shots 
parking lot decorated with Hummers, Escalades, Porsches, a Maserati, and a stretch limo — all situated next to Buffet King. We approach the nondescript strip-mall entrance, but to our surprise, the guards redirect us into a vacant sideline behind a velvet rope. As we stand in the otherwise empty area, a gentleman with a clipboard approaches us and asks us if we are with “The Party.” We aren’t. And neither is the woman who is herded into our whopping three-person lineup.

We watch groups bypass the red velvet rope entirely, apparently paying their toll with copious hugs and grand greetings. They are with “The Party.” Finally, a posse comes around from our side of the rope. As luck would have it, someone I know is in the right group, and headed to the birthday party inside. We grab onto his coattails and slide through the door.

Inside, a solid blast of refrigerated air greets us. As we make our way past reserved tables to the bar, time-lapse cityscapes are projected onto framed screens, backed by bumping house beats. After some appropriately fancy splashing, I’m handed a house mojito across the under-lit bar, and my friend receives a whiskey sour. Both are delicious, but not surprisingly, as they weigh in at an ample $10 and $8, respectively.

Drinks in hand, we make our way to our friend’s friend’s friend’s birthday party, where we are welcomed and generously encouraged to partake in available drinks. We meet and chat with some amiable medical students in their residency, and we make small talk with one of the new Spurs teammates, who only recently moved here from the Netherlands. Meanwhile, Robert Horry mingles behind the intricate fencing of what I assume is the VIP section.

As the crowd begins to multiply, and the oxygen begins to thin, we finish up our drinks and head for the door. The venue achieves a certain class (forced though it may be), but we both still leave smelling like a frat house.

At least we were in perfect proximity to Buffet King for a midnight snack.

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