The Rickshaw has finally reopened after a massive kitchen fire way back in March. For 36 years, the famous dive has provided cheap drinks, karaoke, and psychic readings, though owner Ginger Luke laments, "Our psychic's car broke down! We're looking for a new one." The place has retained its party-steeped atmosphere, reminiscent of the house of the kid with the "cool" parents where everyone drinks for the first time in high school. "I have so many stories about this place," Ginger said. "There's one lady who just takes pictures of the booths." Then she told me about Pat and Patty, who have had a weekly karaoke date at the Rickshaw for 20 years.
And decades ago, when the neighborhood was rougher, Ginger was robbed three times at the Rickshaw. One of the robbers was easily identified because he chose a sheer stocking for a mask, and one left his wallet on the counter, but the third robber shot her. She still has a bullet in her shoulder. Ginger hired a security guard, who she eventually married.
Rickshaw-goers on a recent Friday night were so excited for karaoke that some of them were singing in the booths. I shared a table with a man in a silver sequined shirt and dipped gloriously cheesy potato skins in sour cream and salsa. "I wish I had kept a diary," Ginger said. I wish she had, too.