No Greeks at Greek Night

If there was a Greek Night and no Greeks were there to experience it, would it still be a Greek Night?  You might be saying to yourselves, "Guys, what are you talking about?  I'm at every Greek Night and they're packed."  To this we would respond, "Oh, no you're not… and there are plenty of Greek Nights out there that less populated than an all-you-can-eat kokoretsi buffet… on Good Friday… at the Meteora."  

 There was just such a Greek Night this weekend, the sight of which almost made us shut down this site, change our last names, and move to Montana, where there'd at least be a reason for there not to be Greeks at a Greek Night.  The venue of this travesty was The Shark Club in Centreville, a Greek-owned establishment, representing western Fairfax County's only real night club and only real Greek alternative.  For those of you who don't know, which we assume is most of you out there, the Shark Club has been hosting a Greek Night in the basement ("The Deep") on the first Saturday night of every month for the last couple of years.  Often times, especially during the summer, this is the only Greek Night in town for weeks, sometimes months, with the D.C.-based D.J.s usually vacationing in Greece.  In fact, last weekend's Shark Club Greek Night was the first Greek Night since Diva back on June 15th.  

 So what happened at this Greek Night that was so terrible?  Well, to be honest, there was no one there.  Imagine a mostly empty dance floor, with a DJ playing the standard Greek Night play list, with no Greeks there to listen to it, much less dance to it.  There were a total of four Greek people there all night.  Everyone else was a refugee from the upstairs House/Top 40 dance party that usually happens at the Shark Club.  To tell you the truth, these people were having more fun than the Greek people who were there, probably because they really didn't know any better -- whipping out Flamenco and Salsa moves out there like we were in Miami or something.  

Latin Dancing at Greek Night?

Now we don't mind when others try to experience the richness of our Greek culture and our zest for a good time, but like any touristes, they are often in desperate need of a guide.  And when there are no Greeks to shepherd them through the mountainous terrain that is Greek dancing, the fact that there is Greek music playing is meaningless, and you are no longer at a Greek Night. 

 We're hoping that this Greek Night was just an anomaly… like bad gyro.  Usually the Shark Club has a pretty solid showing of Virginians from the suburbs, and even a few Marylanders, from as far as Silver Spring, on a consistent basis.  The music is no better or worse than any other Greek Night, the drinks probably a little less expensive, and everyone seems to have a good time, either dancing, playing pool, or just lounging around in the most comfortable semi-circular booths at any Greek Night.  (Note:  The Shark Club is five minutes from where we live, so excuse us if we're a little overzealous in promoting it.  Some nights it's nice not to have to drive 35 minutes and pay $10 dollars for parking and a $10 dollar cover to get decent Greek entertainment.)  

 So if we're right and this was just a fluke, why have we spent so much time talking about it?  The reason that everyone needs to know about a poorly-attended Greek Night outside the Beltway is that we have to make a concerted effort to see that tragedies like this don't continue.  Once we Greeks stop supporting a certain Greek Night, it disappears faster than an Athens taxi in the middle of the afternoon.  Remember Pangea?  When's the last time there was a Greek night there?  When's the last time you heard from Sigma Entertainment in DC?  Sure, we used to complain that Pangea was too crowded and overrun with too many 17-year-olds with fake ids, but once everyone stopped going for a few consecutive months, Sigma packed it up and focused on their Greek Nights in Baltimore.  (Now, if you think Centreville is far for most of you, try getting back from Baltimore on a Friday or Saturday night at 3:00 A.M.)

 There aren't that many Greek Nights in the DC area during any given month.  Recognizing that for most of us this is the primary opportunity to hang out and socialize with other Greeks, don't we owe it to the establishments that host these events, (especially when they are Greek-owned) to show up?  All the ingredients are present at every Greek Night to make them a decent way to spend a Friday or Saturday night --  attractive surroundings, music that makes you long for the last time you went to Greece, and a generous supply of alcohol to take you there.  The only thing that is missing is you -- the young DC Greeks in the area that can turn an ordinary Saturday night at a club located in a renovated row house, or an oversized strip mall, into the best time this side of the Plaka.   

Click here to read last week's column.