I don't scare easily. Like Al Pacino says in the pivotal scene of Scent of a Woman, “I've been around, you know?” Seldom have I woken up after one of my outings thinking, Today I get a tetanus shot. But one night at The Camel's Breath Inn (10330 Friars Road) did the trick.
“It's the type of shit hole where if something gets busted up, it's fixed with duct tape,” a gentleman, referred to as “the unofficial mayor of Allied Gardens,” told me a few months back at another bar.
The fact that Camel's Breath has 25 friends on its MySpace page should have been a red-enough flag. Regardless, I was instantly sold thanks to the Smucker's golden rule, paraphrased: With a name like The Camel's Breath, it has to be awful.
Like its namesake, regulars are often wheezy and hunchbacked and might spit at you if you get too close. As I walked into the Saharan dive, a woman with what seemed like a bad case of whooping cough huffed all over my face, and thanks to the pleated shorts I was defiantly boasting, I became the instant target of a gang of brontosaurus / mosquito hybrids that decided to open up a HomeTown Buffet in my lower extremities. Blame it on Dr. Oz; ever since he made it OK for guys to rock Shape- Ups sneakers last week, I've been drunk with power, showing off the newly toned man gams left and right.
Inside, an array of camels, ranging from the plush to the life-size papier-maché, greeted me, along with a belligerent, snaggle-toothed patron who shouted, right in my face, “Don't sweat it; we're gonna take care of these bombings. What? You think you're better than me? You ain't ever even been overseas.” Meanwhile, a musical playlist best described as “raging Klansmen” blaring on the juke fanned the flames. Afterwards, a buddy of his apologized, claiming his friend was “on Tucson time” and offered me a shot.
Intrigued, I asked bartender Carrie about the shower-curtains-as-bathroom-stall-dividers that complete the haunt's DIY look. “It's funny,” she said, “I almost want to put a sign up saying ‘Sorry, we're this ghetto.'” turns out it's the result of a wheelchair-bound customer suing the business for not being friendly to disabled people. “For a while, we thought about remodeling, but, oddly enough, they're now our claim to fame.”
If that doesn't make you the 26th friend, I don't know what will. Check out myspace.com/camelsbreathinn for more. Hoo-ah!