Ana Nita 4 p.m., Feb. 22
How and Why Tiger!Tiger! Isn't BLAH
A few months back, Mary Beth Abate gave an accurate rundown on Tiger!Tiger! The place had only been open a couple of months at that point, and it was still figuring out what it would be when it grew up. The menu hasn't really changed, but the scene seems to have evolved more completely and taken shape in a way that couldn't have been predicted, but makes sense in hindsight.
Despite being owned by the same group of people, TIger!TIger! has become a very different kind of place than the Blind Lady Ale House. I don't mean to say whether it's become better or worse, that's hardly relevant, but I do feel like the common prediction that it would be "another Blind Lady, but on the Boulevard" proved to be way off base.
As Mary Beth pointed out, the setup of Tiger!Tiger! is very similar to the Blind Lady. The familiar counter service and hand-chalked beer menu have the outward appearance of the Adams Avenue pizza and brew pub, but Tiger!Tiger! has veered towards dive bar territory with a much greater intensity than the uber-chill Blind Lady Ale House.
Firstly, I think this has happened in part because of location. It's only an eight minute trip by leisurely bicycle, but being in the company of bail bondsmen and drag bars is a big remove from the bike shops and yoga studios that're a stone's throw from BLAH.
Secondly, the crowd is different. Tiger!Tiger! still manages to be more or less family friendly--it's not the type of place where fights break out on the regular--but the overall demographic seems to be much younger and more single. This is probably due to it being much darker and more confined feeling inside of Tiger; an environment more suited to twenty-somethings than the over-forty crowd.
Thirdly, Tiger feels more expensive. The per item cost of food is similar to BLAH, but the meals are smaller--or at least less filling--and the selection seems much narrower. This leads to more drinking and less eating, which in turn leads to fewer stuffed and happy people in food stupors and a greater number of the energetic, mildly inebriated people who elevate the overall intensity of the establishment to a much higher level.
The places do have their similarities: the tap lists follow similar guidelines (although Tiger seems a little less heavy on the Belgians) and there's a discount offered to anyone who arrives by bike. Both places are closed on Mondays and reservations aren't an option. But I think the differences outnumber, and more importantly outweigh, the similarities.