If you've read a few of my blog posts, you will notice a recurring theme - the 1980s! It's true that I am hopelessly stuck in this fantastic era of giant earrings and even bigger hair, but what I love the most about that decade is the music. Give me new wave, a bit of punk and a lot of super synthesized electronic dance music.
I wasted many hours of my youth on the lighted and mirrored dance floor at the Queen's Hotel, and if I had a time machine, I would set the dial to about 1984 and go back there in an instant. Without that device (someone invent one please), I do the next best thing - I go to as many 80s band concerts as I can. When I learned that Platinum Blonde was playing at the Roxy Theatre, I was so in! Bought my tickets online and rounded up some other dedicated 80s chicks to go along too.
Going downtown for a show is a great excuse to try out a new eatery. On this adventure, we decided on sampling McReilly's Pub at 82 Dunlop St. E. It is part of the 150 year old McConkey building, where my husband and I had our first apartment years ago. Just my opinion, but I think that an Irish type pub like this is ideally suited to an historic neighbourhood such as this, as opposed to a box in a newer plaza.
My neighbour, Christine, and I arrived at McReilly's about 6:30 and found Nikki and Theressa already there sipping drinks. I looked around - nice, cozy looking place, lots of booths, warm and casual atmosphere and a good mix of age groups. Our server was with us very quickly and I ordered a pint of cider. How I love a cider.
My other love, as you may well know already, is fish and chips. It must be my UK blood. The best thing in the world is a fish supper bought from a street corner chippy, soft white haddock or halibut in a light batter, chunky fries, lots of salt and vinegar, all wrapped up in newspapers. Heaven. Sadly, I believe newspapers aren't considered food grade material and can no longer be used.
So yes - I ordered fish and chips. Christine ordered a really cool thing that I have not noticed on another menu - a hamburger inside a grilled cheese sandwich. Both Theressa and Nikky got the reuben sandwich. Theressa chose the house cut fries as her side dish but Nikki got house salad, which leads me to an interesting little event that I wasn't going to mention at first but then I realized that it actually shines a very positive light on McReilly's excellent customer service.
A little background information - three out of the four of us are country girls, Nikki and I having been raised on the Holland Marsh. We grew up yanking carrots straight out of the field and, after a brief wipe off on our jeans, ate them as a snack. Today, Nikki still lives on the Marsh and works for a company that produces fresh sprouts.
So when Nikki got down to the bottom of her salad bowl and found a minuscule green, six legged creature expired there, she was not terribly panicked. Although not trained pathologists, we surmised that the tiny thing had succumbed to drowning, as this salad was obviously super well washed. Our lovely server however, was mortified. Her pretty smile disappeared and she was very apologetic. We were not too worried because we know that these things happen. Real vegetables, grown in real fields, are going to get mixed up with other living things, whether we want to see them or not.
Even with that funny little occurrence, we really enjoyed our dinners and would come back again. When the bills were handed out, Nikki didn't get one. It took her a minute to realize why. She had not expected to have her entire bill wiped out and was very pleasantly surprised. Very classy, McReilly's!
So, with full bellies and feeling good about our dining experience, we wandered down the street to the concert venue. We arrived far to early but the good thing about that is that you can pick your spot for the show. Nikki is a more seasoned concert goer than I (I plan to catch up!) and set us up stage side, right beside a waist high speaker. She insisted that this was the place to be.
Yes, we waited something like an hour and half there for the concert to begin, but once Platinum Blonde came on stage, the atmosphere was electric! Jumping up and down, hands in the air, dancing in our crowded little corner to Crying, Standing in the Dark, and It Doesn't Really Matter, we were transported back to those fun times years ago. For a few hours, we were 19 years old again.
I didn't appreciate Nikki's true genius until front man, the charismatic Mark Holmes, jumped off the stage and onto our speaker and played his guitar right above our heads. Wow, I nearly turned into one of those screaming fans that you see on old film of Beatles concerts!
The night was such a success that we are already planning to see Honeymoon Suite at the Roxy in January. Platinum Blonde, you guys are as good as ever - or better! McReilly's Pub, you proved that top notch customer service doesn't depend on the thing that happened but how you deal with that thing. You get an A+ from me.