Baseball, Apple Pie, and America's Backyard?
|Claudia Romani, Cindy Berjarano, & Alicia Robinson
Story and photos by David Bowling
Welcome to happy hour. Enjoy drinking
games, sexy bartenders and loud music, but don’t bring any “notorious characters”, or your camera.
In three years and hundreds of events for the magazine at different clubs I can proudly say I’d never been kicked
out. I can no longer make that claim. Actually getting thrown out of a club or any type
of venue never even crossed my mind, until now.
I arrived at America’s Backyard about 6:30
PM with Mickey Munday from the movie “Cocaine Cowboys” and model Claudia Romani who has appeared in FHM and Maxim,
as well as our magazine. Two of our cover models Cindy and Ali Marie arrived shortly thereafter.
I asked the DJ to announce to the crowd that
Mickey and the models would be signing free posters for all. He mentioned them once, and then a few moments
later he came by and told me that there was a problem, management would not let him make announcements that were not already
on his sheet. He told me that in the future I’d have to go thru their promotions department beforehand.
This is all well and good for next time but we were already there. I didn’t want Mickey and the girls to
have come there for nothing. If I’d known I would have gone thru proper channels, but we had been
there before with Mickey and one of our models and everyone seemed to love us and didn’t have an issue.
Considering the competition for patrons in the downtown
Ft. Lauderdale area you’d think they would welcome some star power to their little bar.
I asked for a manager to see if we could resolve
the issue for this night and promised to follow whatever rules they set forth in the future. I spoke with
Carlos who told me he’d have to speak with the General Manager. He then came back and told me that
Mickey Munday was a notorious character and not someone they’d feel comfortable promoting. Now granted
Mickey is not an actor. “Cocaine Cowboys” is a documentary based on illegal activities that
he admittedly did. However, he did his time in prison, hasn’t been in trouble since, and though infamous,
his current status is that of a movie star, not drug trafficker. Plus anyone who knows him knows he’s
one of the smartest and most interesting persons you’ll ever meet. I asked Carlos if Mickey was the
only problem and he said he was. I then asked him to please tell the DJ to mention that the models were
A few minutes later the DJ began announcing Claudia,
Cindy, and Ali. Guys started coming by and getting autographs and photos with the girls. Almost
every guy that came by took pictures of and with the models.
Then the rain came. Luckily it’s
only partially outside and the bar has some cover. But the rain didn’t seem to dampen anyone’s
spirits, especially the female employees who seemed to revel it. They were already in pretty skimpy attire
but took off a little more and began playing in the rain. One female employee in particular really went
wild. I thought she was interesting so I took her picture. I guess she wants what happens
at Americas Backyard to stay at Americas Backyard. I saw her point to Carlos, then point to me.
Carlos informed me that cameras were not allowed
and I’d have to leave. Not, could you stop taking pictures, could you put the camera in the car.
You have to leave! It was 9:00 PM. I’d been taking pictures
now for over two hours. Hard to believe they just noticed.
I later checked their web site to look for rules
on cameras but couldn’t find any. I’m okay with any rules that any establishment may have.
Its private property and it’s their decision to do whatever they like. All I ask for is consistency.
Once it’s okay if we bring Mickey Munday, the next time its not, once it’s okay to take photos, the next
time its not. And believe me I didn’t have the only camera in place, all you saw were flashes popping
wherever Mickey and the models were. Some were built in to phones but not all. I guess
I could have missed it but I didn’t see anyone else getting thrown out.
I don’t condone what Mickey has done in his
past but I’m curious where they draw the line. I realize they’re trying to be politically correct
but they encourage heavy drinking, scantily clad woman and have had sports figures that have been arrested and / or in trouble
there and they were heavily promoted.
I later learned from their marketing director that
you can take photos unless you’re a member of the media. The media requires prior authorization.
My questions are still, why did you allow it on our previous visit? Why was I kicked out after two
hours? And how about a warning?