Disclaimer first: The Lies Have It is a work of fiction!!! Nobody I know from The Pilot Tavern has ever been murdered, or been accused of murder, or ever even jaywalked for that matter. In fact, I don't even think they'll serve you if you have unpaid parking tickets.
But The Pilot, especially the second floor Stealth Lounge, is a great inspiration for the plot of a murder mystery.
While I was in university, I worked at The Pilot. It was a great job, I met a lot of people who remain close friends, I made good money and had a lot fun. Back then (before a new team of managers came along sometime after I left), the management was, um, lackadaisical on one hand, and, um, edgy on the other.
Manager X. was balls-out batshit crazy, Manager Y. was seldom sober but a genuinely nice person, and Manager Z. was an absolute bitch (who was ultimately deported, dunno how or why that happened... I was living in Mexico at the time...)
I don't know which of the three of them gets credit for the following, but since it went on for a few months, I guess all of them were in favour of it.
As mentioned in the previous posting, The Stealth Lounge is reserved or rented out for private parties or special functions (being near Yonge & Bloor, they do a lot of corporate gigs). Back in my days working there, The Stealth was rented out two Saturdays nights a month for fetish/S&M parties.
I NEVER ACTUALLY WORKED ANY OF THE S&M EVENTS!!! (My Dad reads this blog).
Every Saturday, I worked the jazz matinee on the main floor. My shift was roughly 1:00 pm to about 7 or 8 (the crowd would trickle out after the music ended ). The Pilot gets some great jazz bookings and the customers are a fairly loyal bunch of pretty serious jazz fans. The regulars will shush the uninitiated for talking too loudly during a sax solo.
On the Saturdays when the upstairs was booked for the fetish parties, we'd often get some crossover between the studded leather dog collar fetish crowd and the professorial tweed jacket with elbow patches jazz crowd.
The doors opened at 8:00 pm for the fetish party upstairs. Often, though, the S&M folks would come a bit early to catch the tail end of the jazz matinee and grab a bite to eat before going upstairs to spank each other.
Then, when my shift finished, I'd help out a bit with the staff upstairs: making sure they had enough lemons and limes, bringing up a case of beer, getting change for the till and such.
For however brief my exposure to the fetish corwd was, it was eye opening! The way some of these folks dressed when they were at the jazz downstairs was pretty far out, but once they got upstairs to the private party room, well... they let it all hang out, so to speak.
More on "hanging out" in the next post. Stay tuned.