We're torn about this -- on the one hand, we get why Julie Reiner's oh-so-elegant establishment would have a strict policy against BYOB-ing (Bringing Your Own Balloons). And we've never quibbled with the rules at places like Milk & Honey. But on the other hand, if you're serving booze in punch bowls, you should be happy if balloons and paper plates are the only malfeasance you have to put up with. The hilarious account follows.
I organized a bachelorette party at the Clover Club a couple of weeks ago. The celebrant wanted no fanfare but I decided to bring a couple of accessories, to make the occasion feel slightly more special than a girls-night-out. I brought four white balloons, not shaped like penises, and a banana cream pie from a fancy bakery. I was wearing a pretty suit. When I met a group of 5 women there, we attempted to tape our white, non-sexual balloons up to mark our table for our arriving guests. When he noticed this, the host, a poor-man's Michael Stipe, descended on us and asked if we got clearance from the owner to modify our space. He explained that the owner had taken meticulous measures to design the bar just-so and that our four white balloons were interfering with her vision. He didn't make us remove the balloons, but he warned us that there might be retribution if the owner stopped by that night. We stared blankly at him for a moment, exchanged a few confused words among ourselves quietly, as a reality check, and proceeded to order stuff.
He turned us over to our waiter, who was very pleasant and seemed to turn a blind eye to the banana cream pie, which I would have been nervous about by that time had I not called ahead to get permission to bring it. Shortly thereafter, the owner showed and, as predicted, threw some Miranda Priestly shade our way. Our group was 10 by then. The waiter "noticed" the banana cream pie suddenly, became uptight and advised us that we should have called ahead to get their policies on such things. I told her that I had indeed done that but that I could not remember the name of the woman who had taken my call. Maybe I was supposed to complete an online application or something to bring a pie to this bar. The owner walked over and looked at the pie and me like I was Jed Clampett bringing a tin of vittles to dinner at the White House. She offered to "plate" our pie in the basement, and return it to us, waiving the $25 plating fee. We politely declined, on principle, and made a little mess. But not before the waiter confiscated our paper plates (white chinette) because the owner felt they were "trashy." She actually said "trashy" to my face. Oppressive. Power back to the people.
Next time, girls, stick with Hunk-O-Mania.