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What if over-40s had a bar?

By PATTY RYAN, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 18, 2002

OUR QUEST begins late Friday at Samba Room. My friend Lauren Miller and I scan the crowd and notice the Noah's ark-like pairings of 20-somethings.

OUR QUEST begins late Friday at Samba Room. My friend Lauren Miller and I scan the crowd and notice the Noah's ark-like pairings of 20-somethings.

We could head to the Blue Martini, land of 17-inch waists, or just settle outright for bamboo sticks under the fingernails.

Theoretically: What would we name a club for single people over 40?

"Silicone Valley," I propose.

"The Botox Babes," she decides.

* * *

THINK of the possibilities.

Attendants in the restrooms with aerosol spray doses of Celexa and Viagra.

One stall for a therapist; another for touching up roots.

Open boxes of Neuhaus chocolates everywhere, as consolation prizes.

* * *

SUNDAY morning the idea grows over eggs Benedict at the Pink Flamingo. I sit across from neighbor Jamie Moore, who lingers in blissful 30s. She has met someone on the Internet site He appears to have only one head. Way to go, Jamie.

I deliver the news: On Saturday, I bought a chain saw.

She is impressed and suggests I tell others.

I have doubts.

We wonder together if men are threatened by women with chain saws, even those in the off position. I vow to stitch a lace coverlet for it, just in case.

* * *

FAST FORWARD to Tuesday at the Palm restaurant in WestShore Plaza.

Friday's conversation continues. What does our bar need?

"An instant divorce lawyer," suggests a man I recently met, who wishes to remain married and therefore guards his identity, while hinting for Lauren's phone number.

"And an instant minister."

* * *

HIS BEST idea: a booth that checks in wedding rings and checks out Harvard class rings to cover tan lines.

In the appetizer line, a TV guy's 40-something girlfriend sneaks in front of us. I ponder asking her about bars for people over 65, just for fun.

* * *

I AM at the Palm because my caricature has been added to the wall, a publicity ploy that, at this writing, appears to have worked. I am invited to sign it. In my haste, I forget to ask: Would a phone number be appropriate?

Perhaps I will devote my life to stitching an entire line of fall clothing for the chain saw. If only Paul Bunyan were alive and over 40.

* * *

WE STROLL around the restaurant and toss the question to others.

"The bartender should remember my name and what I drink and forget everything else," says Michael Kilgore, 50.

What would others put in a bar for people over 40?

"People under 40," says Leon Mezrah, financier.

* * *

CAMILLE Roberts joins in. She'd like dark wood, leather decor, fine wine and good service. She's a fan of bars at Fleming's, Bonefish, the Palm, Bern's and Sidebern's.

Terry Haynes wants a place full of well-read, intelligent people. She'd like fine wine, premium liquor and good jazz.

"I would love to have a place to meet people like me," she says.

She knows Leon from business. She does mergers and acquisitions.

Mergers & Acquisitions.

Nice name for a bar, don't you think?

-- Tampa's Kennedy Boulevard was once called Grand Central. Now Grand Central is a weekly City Times column. Writer Patty Ryan can be reached at 226-3382 or

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