One night a few weeks ago, I had my Uber drop me off in front of Snug Harbor in Plaza Midwood. Next door to the ever-changing art gallery Twenty-Two and familiar Soul Gastrolounge, Snug is a nightlife venue that folks in the music scene frequent regularly. I hopped out of the car with my work backpack on — I've become the picture-perfect Dora bopping around after work these days — and walked up to the entrance to learn the cover was $2.
Wow, that's super cheap!
Funny enough, I still had to wait outside because I didn't have a single dollar bill to my name.
While I waited for my friends to rescue me, I stared into the small doorway past the fenced-in patio with picnic tables. I laughed, thinking back to one of my first experiences at Snug Harbor. It was during an annual Pig Pickin' in Plaza Midwood, I believe. Snug had some sort of Southern cooking thing going down on the patio, and my P.I.C. (partner in crime) and I decided we were going to grab a plate. After getting our food, we ambled through the walkway with full intentions of making our way to the back patio to grub.
Inside, it was very dim. I remember looking at all the trinkets that lined the walls and swore I saw some creepy little gothic creatures hanging from the rafters. I have no idea if the little creatures are still there, but I remember thinking, "They probably play heavy metal here all the time." (I was completely wrong; even though the words "Rock & Roll Bar" do appear underneath the logo, Snug is more indie-rock and hip-hop than Mötley Crüe.)
The back patio area is another world altogether; a small oasis filled with every different type of human. I was intrigued.
Not too long after this experience, I spoke with a co-worker at the time about her experience writing for Creative Loafing and the like. I wanted to pick her brain about everything from music and politics to nightlife venues and race. Little did I know that she would introduce me to "Knocturnal," described online as "a weekly party born from the brains of Justin Aswell and friends featuring the best in electronic, hip and forward music for the truly awesome human being."
And that, it was.
I'd heard that Snug hosted breakdancing and freestyle battle nights on Mondays, but it wasn't until this particular night a few weeks ago that I figured out this was the event known as "Knocturnal," or how awesome this local favorite music nook really is.
After the crew arrived with my $2 entry and we walked in, I grabbed my second fave drink of choice, Pabst Blue Ribbon, and started taking in the scenery. Once again, I was taken aback by the diversity of the crowd, and recognized a few familiar faces and "InstaFamous" locals I knew. I felt right at home and part of what I'd imagine is an "inner circle."
We ventured to the back patio where the freestyle rap battles and dances were happening. I watched in awe as everyone sat around the small stages and vibed to the music. From the couple having an intimate moment singing along to an old-school joint, to the group of friends rallying behind the best break dancer in the group, Knocturnal is the epitome of what I'd call cool-ass art in motion.
After a few throwback singalongs — think '90s R&B — I noticed a major twerk session happening inside. Now, if you know me, or you've kept up with my articles, you know Aerin doesn't miss an opportunity to "look back at it," even if that means I'm in the middle of the dance floor at Tilt on Trade all by myself. I walked in and started getting it to whatever trap song was on, swerving anyone who attempted to get in on the action. Surprised? What am I going to do with a dance partner when "Loose as a Goose" by Boosie comes on? Not a damn thing, keep it moving.
We returned to the patio to finish up our beers before deciding whether or not to rejoin the "kickback" that was happening inside. No, I still had to go to work the next day. And even though our motivation for leaving was a slice of Benny's pizza and it was closed by the time we got there, I was proud of our decision not to be the ones sitting on the patio when the lights came on inside. I may be a "knocturnal" creature, but the last thing I need to see on a weeknight is the sun rise.