So one of the unexpected difficulties here in Denver is finding a place to watch the speeches if you opt out of the Pepsi Center. I figured I could walk into any hotel bar and be among friends. Not so. The moneymen who populate them don't seem especially interested. The locals considerably less so.
About an hour ago I finally got advice from one of the ferociously professional concierges at the Ritz Carlton. I happened to ask at the same moment that a group of women from California were posing the same question. The concierge huddled with her colleagues and made a few calls. Eventually they turned up an Italian restaurant up the street called Pulcinella.
When we got there, MSNBC was on mute, and a man was playing jazz standards on a piano. The women were unamused. They wanted C-SPAN, with volume, and complained that the manager was welching. The manager--a mild-mannered civilian named David--pleaded that he'd only promised to play Hillary's speech, not the entire prime-time lineup. Words were exchanged. Diners gawked. People shifted in their seats. Suddenly our ring leader, an 80-year-old spark plug named Jolene, hit on a solution: What if she polled the bar and a majority wanted C-SPAN? David looked torn between his menschy instincts and, well, pretty much everything he'd ever learned about running a restaurant. Fine, he finally shrugged.
Suffice it to say, it took Jolene exactly five minutes to whip up the votes. A group of well-groomed out-of-towners were agnostic. Some grungy-looking locals said they were headed out. A family off to the side of the bar seemed slightly horrified, but clearly weren't the scene-making kind. Before long, David was trooping through the upper reaches of the cable dial.
As a kind of consolation, I told David he should hit the ladies with a three-drink minimum. "No," he sighed, looking a little deflated. "I know the type. You don't want to antagonize them."