Kappa Sigma Bro :: The Sapphire Hotel

There’s nothing I love more than a good Frat Bro. The coifed hair, the Americana wardrobe, the faint odor of Rolling Rock – slow, my beating heart! As much as I can appreciate some good negging-flirting and the occasional misogynistic joke, Frat Bros do have their flaws. Namely – promiscuity and superficiality. So when I found a chiseled, JFK-doppelganger on Tinder who seemed to be into “more than a one night stand,” I was smitten.

Even though he wasn’t a member of ΒΘΠ, he turned out to be totally beta. After numerous hints that we should meet up (a lady never asks because it voids the ‘he who asks, pays’ law of dating. Spoiler: he didn’t pay anyway), he finally invited me out for drinks after almost two weeks of texting. Red flag #1. Guys just don’t get off to words the way ladies do, so any man who is more interested in texting than meeting is either 1. a catfish, 2. inexplicably trying to surplus his Verizon bill, or 3. the mastermind behind the awful date that ensued.

The Bro Pros:
“Kappa Sigma Bro”
Had a default photo featuring an American flag
Owned a car (do you know how rare this is??)
Dished out some of the wittiest text banter I’ve seen in ages
Had the balls to debate the Arab-Israeli conflict with me
My dad approved

I suggested the Sapphire Hotel, which is surprisingly not a hotel. I had to explain this to him profusely and it may have gotten his virgin heart aflutter. Nestled on the awkward corner of Hawthorne and 50th, the Sapphire Hotel is a hidden gem (see what I did there?) This unassuming, dimly lit lounge is quite possibly the best date spot I’ve seen in Portland. It has the intriguing history of a former hotel/brothel from the early 1900s and many of the cocktails pay homage to the building’s former life. The bartenders can also whip up a few ultra-modern cocktails like “The Most Popular Drink” which features Pop Rocks for your inner child. Seriously – this place is kickass.

Like the beginning of any classy date, we met on the sidewalk after we had parked our cars on the nearby dimly lit street. He looked just as fiiiine as his photos suggested, but something was… off. I had imagined him as the cool, calm, collected bro who listens to EDM and is amused by shows on Comedy Central. This guy was high strung. I can barely explain it, so I’m just going to throw a bunch of descriptors out there and hopefully you’ll get the image. Cocaine addict, severe ADHD, captain of his HS debate team, watches videos of “Transatlantic Accent” on YouTube and then starts using in casual conversation, Pete Campbell from Mad Men. I’m a fan of being unpredictable, but this guy was a wildcard in a bad way. It was as if he had scripted everything he would say on the date and only stuck reciting that at lighting speed. He rarely reacted to anything I said. Remember the AIM chat bots who failed the Turing Test? This was a real life version of SmarterChild.

During his speech about growing up in southern Oregon, I had a chance to look around the Sapphire Hotel. We had been seated at the “bar” which was really a series of 3 elevated tables near a corner where they kept the alcohol. It was an interesting arrangement and felt a bit more private than traditional bars where strangers are always breathing down your neck. The rest of the patrons seemed to be a bit older in their 30s-40s. The space had normal tables, but also several lounge areas with comfy chairs and coffee tables. We didn’t order any food, but it seemed to be a pretty popular nom spot. If you ever find yourself at the Space Room or the Hawthorne Theater, definitely check this place out for drinks.

The Bar Pros:
Great lighting – dim and slightly red
Delicious and unique cocktails
Populated, but not too crowded
Ample street parking and on a bus line
Risque history to spice up a date night
Attentive staff who don’t feel obtrusive

The real highpoint of the date occurred after we left the Sapphire Hotel and were walking down Hawthorne when he said “Do you dare me to prank call New Seasons?” I told him to please don’t. He did. “Ayyyye you New Seasonz? Aiight. Listen, you got lettuce? WHAT? YOU CLOSED? Why you gotta be close? Where da fukk I supposeta get lettuce??” I reluctantly gave him a pity laugh while coming to terms with the fact that I can never show my face in a New Seasons again.

For some ungodly reason, I agreed to go with him to Richmond Bar on Division for another drink (which I paid for). It was pretty dead so I got a cheap beer and tried to drink myself into a state where I would enjoy the one-sided conversation. Unexpectedly, things took a turn for the bizarre. I mentioned I liked Hoodie Allen, a rapper, and he started… rapping. Poorly. For about 5 minutes straight. He was struggling to rhyme. My face was twitching from trying to look charmed. Finally he stopped and thought he would really impress me by stealing a plate of cold, discarded french fries from the table next to us. His response to the waitress who gave him a dirty look? “Shhh.. it’s okay. Just pretend you didn’t see them. Because soon you won’t. They will be in my belly.”

I promptly looked at my iPhone clock and exclaimed how late it was. We said our goodbyes and I haven’t texted him since.

The Bro: 2/10 (he was cute, after all…)
The Bar: 8/10


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