Breakfast at the bar

The Hash House beckons—go (go) get it!

Big, big food.
Photo: C. Moon Reed
C. Moon Reed

Ten-thirty a.m. Saturday and I’d just nabbed the last vacant barstool. Was I entertaining wild day-drinking tourist friends? Nope. This was a solo mission. A new record for indigence, then? One would think. Zoom out, and you’d have seen me sipping $5 iced toffee-nut latte. Not that I couldn’t have ordered a nice mimosa or Bloody Mary, as others nearby did. But this morning, I felt like saving the sauce for my pancakes.

Waaaaaaaaaiiiiit a second. Crowded bar? Before noon? Was this even possible? I’d heard rumors of after-hours clubs raging till mid-morning, but these patrons looked fresh and perky. There was no way in hell they were rounding out an all-night bender. In fact, I’d go so far as to assume they’d just woken up.

So what led me behind the looking glass to the mirror-image of a bar? Long story short: I made a wrong turn and missed my yoga class. With time to burn, I decided to find out why everybody’s always talking about Hash House a Go Go.

Restaurant Guide
Hash House a Go Go
6800 W. Sahara Ave., 804-4646.

It felt a little weird walking into a crowded restaurant alone at peak hours, like it was somehow extra-intrusive. But then I remembered the magic line pass of bar seating. Pushing past the sea of humanity waiting for tables, I snagged that last seat and was instantly given a menu. I squelched the desire to point and laugh at all the suckers who brought friends to eat and thus had to wait.

The nice thing about a crowded bar is that even if you came alone, you’re surrounded by friends. In this case, my new “friends” were a class of people I’d never before seen: the Earlyrisers. I’ve often wondered how the other half lives, but I wasn’t prepared for the results to be so shocking. These people looked healthy. Nobody wore dresses so tight they looked painted on; nobody wore body paint at all, for that matter. There were families. Children! I thought kids were mythical creatures that didn’t exist outside the confines of Circus Circus. According to my calculations, Las Vegas was now twice as big as I’d imagined.

The patrons of this breakfast-time bar, unlike those at a normal bar, had no interest in mingling. Just when I was starting to feel lonely, two guys sitting to my right commented on the ginormous size of my chocolate-chip pancake. Now that contact was established, their pick-up line successful, I assumed we would chat for the rest of the morning. Nope. It turned out they really were just amazed by my pancake. The group to my left was no more interested in making new friends. They were busy planning the hiking trip they were carbing up for.

I was alone in a crowded room with my pancake, my latte and the bartender to keep me company. Luckily, the combo made a nice companion. I imagined the dollop of butter, whip cream and syrup to be ships adrift in a pancake sea.

After a long while of observing the gleeful mayhem of a busy joint, I guessed that the servers were in costume. (The way hipster kids dress these days, one can never be sure of the difference between costume and irony.) The bartender—in a blue tie-dye number—explained that every second Saturday, Hash House hosts a themed DJ brunch. They started with the ’90s and are working their way back through time. Today was ’70s day. I wondered what they’d wear on 1890s day.

By this time, my heart was pounding with a caffeine-and-sugar high. Clearly, there are alternatives to alcohol for those seeking a new level of awareness. Yet for all my efforts, it only looked like I had taken a single bite out of a mondo chocolate-chip cookie. At this point, the bartender delivered my check. I’ve never really been edged off a barstool before. But I took it in stride. Being shooed off a barstool made me feel like part of something larger than myself. Also, in this economy, I was happy to oblige a busy restaurant its turnover.

To my great surprise, as I was paying my check, the guy to my right spoke.

“So, you come here often?” he asked over his ginormous plate of chorizo-egg-something-or-other.

Never mind. Scratch all that stuff I said about the morning being a special, sacred hour foreign to the likes of night crawlies like me. A bar is a bar is a bar, even in the a.m. Thank goodness for that.


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