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Charlie's Restaurant and Lounge

Not my first choice

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My night starts off with the cleanest of intentions. Deciding to stay dry for a weekend, I try to visit Applini's Two Clean and Sober Club in Puyallup. I simply want to grab a virgin daiquiri, surround myself with a sober crowd and clear my head.  A weekend without the devil and his succulent bottle. 

But my plan is quickly foiled. I pull into the Applini's parking lot only to discover the Clean and Sober Club has closed for good; its front doors locked tighter than a liquor store on Sunday.

Distressed by the change, my mind immediately reverts to its practiced ways. Where the hell can I grab a drink?

Not knowing Puyallup very well, I meander around town until I stumble into Charlie's Restaurant and Lounge. Established in 1972, the lounge reminds me of a bar from the Dukes of Hazard era. Dark tables rest far below Charlie's high ceilings. Experienced diner-type waitresses handle drink and food orders with ease. The small crowd is made up primarily of friendly regulars. Friendly regulars that have been coming to Charlie's for decades. Placing an order for a quesadilla and heading to the back, I quickly realize I'm the youngest in the bar by a good 20 years.

Friday and Saturday nights, the back half of Charlie's is devoted to karaoke.  I take a seat and watch a bunch of locals belt their hearts out. The singers are mostly ho-hum until a gray-haired man with a tucked in shirt sings the Elvis classic "Can't Help Falling in Love."

The gray haired crooner serenades with such perfect pitch, harmonizes to the karaoke Elvis so completely, I'm struck by the sudden urge to ask someone to dance. Romantically charged, I stand up and survey the prospects. I see a pair of older couples holding hands. I also see a few drunken ladies up front. But that's about it. Though I look around frantically, Charlie's doesn't have many eligible, Elvis-worthy ladies looking to dance. The song ends and I return to my quesadilla. 

Darling, so it goes. Some nights aren't meant to be.

[Charlie's Restaurant and Lounge, 113 East Main, Puyallup, 253.845.0588]

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