Friday, August 16, 2013
Tiki Bar Damnation
1510 Cherry Hill Rd.
To paraphrase the great Hank Williams, Jr., “Send me to hell or Northern Virginia, it would be about the same to me.”
Hank was actually singing about New York City, but to me, this place is even worse.
As Suit757, I’ve literally been everywhere in this great country of ours, but the LAST PLACE I would choose to live is the vast suburban hell that lies just south of our nation’s capital.
Too many cars. Too many strip malls. Too many medians. Too many people.
And those people?
The most reprehensible of the human species -- bureaucrats.
Surrounding in you in your eight lane-wide traffic gridlock are all variety of bureaucrats -- the liberty robbers who run the TSA, EPA and IRS.
The people who get paid with my tax money to tell me how much toothpaste I can pack in my garment bag, what I am allowed to build on my own property and how much of my income I have to hand over to them to pay for all this raping of my freedom.
And don’t even get me going about all those self-important people who work for Congress crafting new laws to tell me how to live my life.
Or the millions of federal contractors feeding at the federal trough who self-righteously proclaim, “I don’t work for the government -- I’m a private contractor.”
Yeah, okay, Edward Snowden, same difference.
So where do uptight, self-important bureaucrats go to let off steam on a sunny Sunday afternoon in Northern Virginia?
So while visiting Suit757’s favorite posse of Northern Virginia bureaucrats, Hill staffers and federal contractors, we all decided to head down the winding, twisting roads that lead to the sandy shores of the Potomac just outside of Dumfries, Virginia.
The on-line reviews of Tim’s Rivershore really weren’t that great.
Most of the negative reviews clearly were written by prissy bureaucrats and cited the slow service, loud music, drunken crowds and slutty bikini-clad girls stumbling off the boats tied up to the dock.
I was thinking the same thing.
THIS PLACE SOUNDS FREAKING AWESOME!!
Tim’s didn’t disappoint.
There is no way the bureaucrats at the Army Corp of Engineers would allow this place even to be built right on the sandy shores of the Potomac today.
And where are the bureaucrats to shut down the fun-loving sounds of people drinking, laughing and having a good time?
And isn’t there some sort of noise ordinance in Prince William County to prevent a live band from entertaining the crowds from a makeshift stage out on the dock?
And who is going to regulate the blood alcohol content all those drunken boaters stumbling up Tim’s dock to feast on crabs and pitchers of beer?
Worst of all, there’s GOT TO BE some sort of law to stop people from crossing the extremely active Amtrak and CSX railroad tracks that separate Tim’s from the dirt parking lot in the woods.
Someone could get hurt.
Or splattered, even.
That’s the irony of Tim’s.
It’s a Northern Virginia oasis of bureaucracy-free bliss patronized by nothing but fun-loving bureaucrats.
The reviews were spot on.
Tim’s is loud and crowded. And the service is slow as hell.
But that’s okay.
This isn’t the kind of place to come for a quick bite on the way to catch a flight.
You come here to drink beer in the sun, kick off your flop-flops, stick your toes in the rivershore sand and spend the afternoon hanging out with good friends.
Even if they are a bunch of damn bureaucrats.
The slow service can’t be blamed on our waitress. Amid the chaos, she was efficient, friendly and apologetic for the disorganization in the various kitchens, bars and steamers producing our beer and crab feast.
Our one crustacean-averse companion didn’t get her crab cakes until an hour after the rest of us had been devouring a mountain of steamed crab carcasses.
But somehow we all got what we wanted (eventually) and had a good time wiling away the afternoon as the sun set behind the railroad tracks.
The crabs were somewhat of a let-down.
Our waitress informed us that all Tim’s had left were “medium” crabs.
That’s not good.
Picking crabs is hard enough work as it is. You want some actual crab meat reward for all that effort.
I always order the Large or Jumbo, no matter the astronomical cost. (I’ve coughed up ten bucks per crab before, believe it or not.)
Crab picking is a once or twice a year occasion for Suit757. I’ll gladly splurge to ensure a high crab meat-to-effort exerted ratio.
Unfortunately, a few moments after placing our order, our waitress reappeared and apologetically informed us that the mediums were all gone too.
Now we were relegated to the small crabs.
They were like trying to extract meat from overgrown crawfish.
I think I burned more calories than I actually consumed.
But they seemed to be properly steamed and well-seasoned, although we did find a few duds with no meat at all.
To compensate for the missing crab meat, we ordered various trays of steamed clams, mussels and bacon-wrapped scallops, all of which were good -- but a poor substitute for a crab feast.
Thank goodness for the hush puppies, beer and nice waterfront views. Because my attempts to extract much sustenance from these puny critters was mostly futile.
The hush puppies were crispy and sweet -- just the way they should be. We ordered several baskets over the course of the evening.
Sometimes the hush puppies appeared out of the kitchen almost immediately. Other times it took half an hour -- which was a bit irritating because being hush puppyless is a serious problem.
You see, hush puppies play an important role in any crab feast -- running interference for all those pitchers of beer trying hard to enter my Suit757 bloodstream.
Sixteen dollar pitchers of Kona Big Wave Golden Ale were the popular choice among the lackluster selection of drafts.
Kona is the brewery that started on the Big Island in Hawaii, but has since been commandeered by Anheuser-Busch, which explains why bottles of Kona now state they are brewed in New Hampshire, of all places.
But hey, you have to work with what you’ve got.
Under a state of suspended disbelief, I could pretend I was drinking an exotic microbrew from a tropical South Seas island under the yellow and red plastic palm trees ringing Tim’s tiki bar.
This was actually my first chance to try Kona’s Big Wave.
A little fruitier and tarter than the more ubiquitous Kona Long Board Lager, this ale was a perfectly acceptable group compromise for a table of disparate beer drinkers.
That is until our one “Bud Light Only” dork (there’s always one in every crowd of bureaucrats) insisted on having his way.
At that point the law of diminishing returns had long since set in, so I didn’t even put up a fight.
Tim’s Rivershore makes you forget all that…
…the sporadic service…
…the tiny crabs…
…the tyranny of the “Bud Light Only” guy…
…the Nanny State bureaucrats surrounding me.
As we stumbled back across the railroad tracks and snapped pictures of the dangerous Amtrak train roaring past, I thought Tim’s just might be that one long lost oasis in the hell that is Northern Virginia.
Well, if I am damned to eternity in Northern Virginia, at least you know where you can find me.
Rating: Seriously Thought About Buying Shirt.