The Zebra Lounge vs. Windy City Inn

The Zebra Lounge vs. Windy City Inn


What I really want to write about is Gina doing that sexy, crazy, nutso balloon trick. Where'd the balloon go? How'd she do the trick? And who the hell taught her how to do it, some ninja clown with a penchant for vaudeville-style erotica? But, I suppose I should push myself to find a deeper meaning to this episode other than just how truly awesome that trick was. So, before I move on, as I'm sure my editors at are sincerely hoping I'm about to do, let's all just close our eyes and reimagine that miraculous moment of American television. Mmmmmmm. Nice.

Okay, with that out of the way, what this episode really boiled down to was the role of the bartender. Is it the responsibility of the bartender to merely facilitate the party, or are they supposed to be that very party themselves?

Gina was the party. Hell, she was the party, the hangover, the hurricane, the crime, the punishment -- she was all of it, wrapped up in an adorable five-foot-two whisky-filled frame. While the piano players were very talented, you still felt that when you were in The Zebra Lounge, Gina was the show and you wanted to keep coming back to see it again and again.

Cut to The Windy City Inn. There essentially was no show. Instead, the bartenders kept interesting meat-filled digestion-testing drinks coming out and let the customers play games and provide their own entertainment. And, I might add, both bars' customers seemed entertained in their own very different ways. Or, at least, they were entertained until Michael took away Windy City's games for some odd reason that I still don't fully understand. He was all fun and games in his bar, but apparently when it came to actual games, he didn't seem to think that they were very fun.

And that's why he lost: Michael failed to realize that there are in fact very different types of fun and thus when orchestrating a fun environment, the bartender/bar owner has very different types of responsibilities. He tried to turn Windy into a whole different animal, when he was probably better off just adding a few stripes to the fine operation that they already had going on. Though I must say, that donut drink he invented was the bomb, and it went well with the nine lives worth of meat that I ate and drank in that bar.

Finally, a big shout-out to Chicago. That city is amazing. I have traveled all over America doing stand up and Chi-Town remains one of the top three cities that I've been lucky enough to visit. If you have a chance, go check it out; eat, drink, suck through meat straws and ingest balloons. I promise you won't regret it. And, if you have the chance, dress up as a giant Zebra and play some Skee-Ball.

And tell Gina to call me…

Follow Barmageddon host Mo Mandel on Twitter for more of his unique perspective, stand-up dates and more.