I thought Spain was the last hold-out and even that nicotine-riddled dream was quashed on my visit around this time last year. Holy moly, smoking is alive and well in bars (well, some–I don't fully understand the rules) in Oklahoma. As a member of that wretched class, the social smoker, I very much enjoy the rare moments in life when I can indulge (I hate words like sinful and indulgent in relation to food, but it truly feels that way with cigarettes) in a indoor cigarette with an alcoholic beverage.
And if you're going to do it anywhere in Oklahoma, it should be at Junior's Supperclub, a dark, smoky subterranean lounge that goes one step further by being in such a wackadoo location. It is in the basement of a towering office complex called the Oil Center, along the expressway that also housed our hotel, with a Hooters and Sonic providing the padding in-between.
Would you guess there was a piano bar and restaurant behind this door?
We secured the last two plush chairs (it's not a standing type of venue and a hostess will seat you) at the far end of bar, just out of sight of the live performance (Michael Jackson covers sung by a woman wearing and playing a washboard bathed in the blue and pink lights, out of camera-shot) and abutting a large multi-generation party of the type I'm not familiar with personally but I imagine are fixtures in lesser, maybe more southern cities around the country: very white yet tan, seemingly wealthy, preppier than the setting calls for, and used to being accommodated.
Two young men spilling over from their tables into my comfort zone shouted, "barkeep!" and while I snickered at the antiquated term (and mentally shot daggers to keep their chairs from wheeling into mine) it got immediate service and cigars from the bar top humidor. Then again, no hipsters. One must pick their battles.
I only regret not having sufficient time to return. They don't make them like this in NYC, and it makes me sadder for the demise of Bill's Gay Nineties, the closest facsmilie, which wasn't really that close at all the more I think about it.
Junior's Supperclub * 2601 NW Expressway, Oklahoma City, OK