"Where" Writing - Hotel Bar

Today’s exercise is to write in the language world of a “hotel bar”. It could be a run-down hotel with cobwebs coating the drinks cabinet, or the most exclusive hotel in the city - paint whatever picture comes to mind staying as close to your senses as you can. Enjoy!

Needles of chlorinated water viscously race down the other side of the glass as children practice to perfect belly busters and cannonballs in the temporary luxury of a borrowed pool. My guess is that the window is here so parents can escape the noise, but maintain visual surveillance even though they must know that by the third neat libation, their coordination and attention will fail to place them in the superhero status they built years to achieve in their offspring’s eyes. Gentle piano covers of raucous pop songs slip their way between the fifty year old lady unsuccessfully trying not to look her age and the suited man with a wedding ring tucked away in his pocket to my ears. The soothing, cooling burn of a single pot still whiskey tempts me with voluntary Alzheimer’s. The old man in the corner mashes his mop in the same three feet area he has been at since I arrived, his eyes glazed over, his thoughts elsewhere, the lemon-pine sloshing exploding this way. The bartender leans over in a low cut shirt, licks her lips, and calls me sweetie in a raspy bedroom voice, vying for maximum tip added to already overpriced drinks. Every I cross my legs in the opposite direction. the stool wobbles and reminds me of my affected balance. Next to a too-large tip I’ll regret later, I write my room number on the bill. The bartender winks and says her shift ends at 3:30, tucking the receipt into the subtle valley under her V-neck. I’m not sure if what I feel is anticipation, excitement, or shame.


My footsteps echo through the lobby as if this room has placed tape delay on my shoes, The cheaply made neon light stating “Bar” greets me, as if seeing an array of sorted drinks and a bartender were not enough of a give away. Silence fills my head, the room is empty, as if I’ve entered an abandoned building and the spirit of the bartender still lingers. I can smell the antiseptic cleaner used to wipe down the bar, as the bartender desperately tries to keep himself busy for the cameras. Our eyes meet, his glistening eyes introducing a wide grin, as if old friends meeting after a long hiatus.


There’s some really awesome lines in here, perfectly sets up a scene in the readers head nicely written!

I really like the thought of after a few drinks you may not be able to act as the superhero you want your kids to think you are.

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Using the “tape delay” really nails it, that is fantastic. And, the sarcasm about the neon light (and the fact that it was cheap on top of being unnecessary) really paints an image of the type of bar this is. The bartender keeping himself busy for the cameras is an especially strong indication of the owners, building on the neon sign. I like to think that the owners of the hotel are fresh out of business school and know nothing of the work. The bartender knows is and is welcoming to someone who is less mechanical. This is a really great image.

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In the cockpit seat, at the piano, I half fill the room with mellow bebop standards, making sure to leave the other half sufficiently free for the buzz of eccentric conversation and vehement gossip. Behind the bar the waiter, his lower back straightened by his tightly strung waistcoat, begins to shake a martini. His maraca is aggressively percussive, violently fighting with the pulse of the Gershwin that I am struggling to project. After the final ornaments are added, he slides the thin rimmed glass across the bar to an elegant but overdressed woman, whose lonely eyes offer him her desperate gratitude.


The music theme is so well executed throughout. Nice and tidy. The lower back thing was so specific and really captured my attention.

Dust blinks up at me under trembling florescent lights. Creaking furniture arranges itself to harmonize with muffled classic rock radio. The bartender clunks a flat looking beer onto the table, just so that I must lean onto the musty counter to pull it towards myself. I glance down the row of peeling, faded barstools and take a swig of my bitter friend. It crawls down my throat and slides into my stomach uneasily, a poor excuse for the company I was hoping it could keep.


The visuals are really well executed here. The creaking furniture and muffled radio are great auditory images to pull the reader in. The funny thing about the peeling barstools, I felt an uncontrollable desire to peel of the flaking paint! Ha. That is a neat way use visual imagery to pull on an internal desire (I’m sure I’m not the only one). The disappointment in the quality of the beer is also a good internal visual. The only critique that I would offer is you talk about the beer looking flat and having to bend over to get it and take a drink. That is a perfect place to bring in the olfactory sense. Does it smell of mildew (like old tubing in the bar), does it smell overly yeasty, overly hopped? Not necessary, but something to consider. Great job!

I feel like this would make a good line in a song, very relatable to a lot of people I can imagine

this is fantastic. I felt like I was there! I enjoyed a peak into each character at the bar. :slight_smile:

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I really enjoyed the battle between the percussive martini shaker and the piano music.

My eyes drink in the room. Rich mahogany leather, paired with ornate champagne velvet sofas. Dim amber lighting calms me and softens my skin. Looking up I see romantic painted clouds, tinged with pink. I feel intoxicated already. My drink arrives, smelling of orange and cinnamon. It tastes pretentious and smokey. Twenty dollars to pretend I belong for an hour. My hair is silky to the touch, and I straighten my back in case anyone is looking. I purse my lips together, and gently caress my neck. The warm liquor dizzies me and I settle in to the cool leather a bit more. I look to my right and see a distinguished looking gentleman watching me. His eyes drip liquor as he bites his lip. He swirls the whiskey in his crystal glass. I wonder if he is also pretending.

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Wow this is definitely more sense-bound! This is a really nice combination of the internal sensations, straightening your back, sinking into the leather, dizzied, intoxicated etc. and the smells and sights around you. Also the overriding pretence of it all carries through nicely - well done!

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Your eyes drinking the room is really rich language. It is nice because it kind of gives that internal feeling of eyes being satiated. The specific details with regard to the furniture also tickle not only the visual sense, but the smell as well. The taste of pretentious along with the smokey, orange, and cinnamon flavors is really nice. The money to feel like you belong for a little while is also super strong, because of the tactile sense of the money in hand, and the internal sensory of longing for acceptance. And the way, at the end, the feeling of it being all a show, nothing real, kind of trips that inebriated feeling. This is very well done.

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Elevator sings and opens, a grand shuffle as various footsteps echo in the lobby. Tucked away in the corner, a brown divider separates the bar from the lobby, sucking away the minimal light in the room, hardly creating a difference in style, but surely in scene. The server, smelling of Old Spice and last night’s high school prom, stumbles to my seat. Carpeted floors dampen any sense of happiness, as I distance myself from suits and products and conferences with two shots that go straight to my head, neat, an escape from my reality.

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I love the singing elevator, as well as the way you have given us a clear orientation of where the bar is in relation to the lobby etc. Saying the barman / woman smells of high school prom is very clever because it gives us so much information and associations with a youngster working a bar job etc, probably their shirt untucked and a little bit scruffy wanting to get back to their social lives. “Two shots that go straight to my head” is telling us - can you show us that sensation somehow? Overall great work!

The elevator announces my arrival with a jerking hesitation. The backless stools at the bar have fended off the three-piece suits who now offered half a conversation into the air in luxurious highchairs. Rolled up sleeves and a dirty rag circle spotless black countertop. He speaks the hotel dialect with ease and I reply with equal efficiency, exchanging grievances grey days and testing each other with sports degradations. He’s an alright guy. The daily all-purpose special—cleaner, polisher, and medicine all in one—drops plops down in front of me. My throat’s auto-shut valve attempts to activate upon warning from the gasoline in my nose but I override, snapping chin to the sky. Eyes glance over in still heads to recon the signal of a day left in the past and an unfortunate morning. The barman’s head bobs up and down as he sings along with mime’s lips.

Jerking hesitation is a cool phrase, showing motion from a halt. On your second sentence, I would like to hear more than just “conversation”, like offering “EBITDAs, projections, and vague sport references into the air”. That brings a little specificity while also showing us who they are. The rag circling the spotless countertop is excellent, kind of showing a targeted tedium. I actually like the “He’s an alright guy”, even though it is tell-y rather than show-y, because it is real. After measuring the bartender up, the narrator reaches a conclusion in a very relatable manner. The snapping of the chin to the sky is another really cool image of trying to shoot a bad drink to get it over with.