Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

I Found Heaven, Only It Wasn't My Heaven

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

I Found Heaven, Only It Wasn't My Heaven

Article excerpt

Byline: Laura Capitano

ORANGE PARK -- I regularly get mail from readers in the 40 to 55 age group, wondering about social hots spots they might enjoy. "Someplace that doesn't have that booming rap," is a common request. Asking around, '57 Heaven came up as one of those boom-free, middle-aged spots. " '57 Heaven," followed with, "And you GOTTA go on a Thursday night!"

So I did.

The place is crazy from the get-go; the parking lot crammed, desperate drivers resorting to makeshift spots on grassy knolls and concrete intended for cars in motion. I arrived just after 10 p.m., and we were one of the last groups in before the velvet rope went up, signaling the place was at capacity.

And my, oh, my. Ladies Night at '57 Heaven turns into the most intense pick-up bar I've ever seen. Men wait patiently in a line that wraps around the side of the building.

Since the aged meat market is at least a decade away from where I am, I felt like I had infiltrated some secret club, and everyone was suspicious about my intentions. Hot Date and I tried to lay low in the corner, amazed at all the people clearly there to prowl.

Lone guys stand around the inside perimeter of the club, their eyes peeled for a stray gazelle. Women pose cross-legged on bar stools, dressed in their shimmering fabrics and plunging necklines. Some even don Playboy accessories, despite being old enough to have mothered one of Hugh Hefner's girlfriends.

Men and women alike are not shy when applying their personal fragrances. The cosmetics counters at Dillard's are clean rooms compared to the olfactory nightmare of '57 Heaven. You can taste the Jean Nate and Brut in the air when you breathe in through your mouth.

The cologne battles to overpower its rival smell: tobacco smoke. Smokers are in the majority at Ladies Night, preferring their distinguished brands such as Virginia Slims and Benson & Hedges. …

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