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Bar Exam

The Pink Door Turns 25

The red carpet led to the Pink Door. Just to the north, an enormous blowup doll nearly blocked Post Alley, her naked inflated legs spread wide. (Squeezing past to the other side yielded the unsettling discovery that the doll had no head, only a neck-seam.) It was the night of the Pink Door's 25th anniversary party, and the doll was obviously wedged in the alley in celebration, but why? For the moment, it remained a giant, flesh-colored mystery.

Inside, upon descent of the Pink Door's dramatic, vertiginous stairs, flutes of Prosecco instantaneously materialized, borne on a tray—a harbinger of the largesse to come. Proprietress Jacqueline di Roberto (Jackie to those who love her, which is everyone) was not fucking around: circulating pourers refilled glasses as if by magic throughout the evening, delicious snacks abounded, and entertainment included full frontal male nudity.

In the main room, a couple of beauties sat suspended in midair above the milling celebrants, smiling fixedly and swinging slightly in a post—trapeze act tableau. In the packed lounge, a florid Tom Douglas happily loomed on the steps to the Pink Door's famous deck. If you didn't feel like letting the hors d'oeuvres and canapés come to you (which they did with admirable frequency, carried by very attractive people), a laden table awaited. Behind it, a man in a tiny clown hat sliced prosciutto ceaselessly. One partygoer camped out in front of the king crab legs, eating away, prompting a certain city council member's wife to observe, "It's a buffet, not a trough."

On the deck, colored light bulbs improved everyone's looks while red-hot, industrial-strength portable heaters dispelled the chill at calf level and menaced the hems of dresses. A mermaid made an appearance, bare-bosomed except for a drape of metallic netting and large nipple-shaped pasties. Ashtrays set out for this private affair implicitly contravened the deck's no-smoking signage; the view of the Sound showed the beginnings, far off across the water, of a creeping fog that would engulf the entire city in a matter of hours.

Back on the lounge's tiny stage—host to many eccentric diversions over the years—the performance of the man sans pants was followed by what appeared to be a full-fledged, nonfunctional jazz trio. Confusingly, the musicians pantomimed playing their instruments; after a song featuring a female vocalist that the trio prominently lacked, the roomful of dancers went wild with appreciation.

The local lore surrounding the Pink Door's name was bound to come out, at last clarifying the presence of the giant crotch at the entrance. Contrary to the unconvincing official version (the owner's sojourn in Florence/infatuation with the hue of the tiles of Brunelleschi's Dome/etc.), legend has it that the irrepressible Jackie, enjoying the hell out of herself at a party possibly as fun as this one 25 years ago, kept lifting her dress and exclaiming, "Look at the pink door!"

The Pink Door, 1919 Post Alley, 443-3241

bethany@thestranger.com

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