Within five minutes of walking through the Club Venom doors, I’m breathing fire from what turns out to be a shot of mostly Everclear. The bartender tells me they sell the shot, “The Terminator,” in droves — something I find a little hard to believe with the taste of diesel fuel still lingering on my tongue. Asked if they have to carry out patrons limp from drinking too much of the poison, the bartender laughs a little and says, “Yea, sometimes.”
The guy cracks me open a couple of Lone Stars and tells me about the bar’s other signature shot: a “Venom tube” which happens to come in a glass vial and also contains mostly, you guessed it, Everclear.
Positioned just across from the White Rabbit on the St. Mary’s strip, I’d seen the neon lights from Venom before but had never ventured in. On a recent Friday I showed up just after 11 p.m. Though the place was pretty empty when I walked in, it filled out by the time midnight rolled around.
Save for some neon lights and the fluorescents hanging over the pool tables, most corners of the bar are completely dark, smoky, and blaring with contemporary rap and hip-hop (think Lil’ Wayne, Eminem, and Drake songs over, and over, and over). The owner tells me they’re planning on starting Mexican (or Mexico? Can’t remember … Everclear) nights on Thursdays, complete with reggaeton, conjunto, and salsa music along with $2 Mexican imports and $3 frozen margaritas. The bar doesn’t have anything on draught, but upon surveying the scene, it seemed most were sticking to the cheap ($1.50) Lone Star tallboys, and I figured I would do the same.
Though there was a DJ hidden somewhere in the shadows at the front of the club and a large open space which I assumed was meant to serve as the dance floor, everyone seemed perfectly content chilling in their respective corners. Two groups of guys kept up games at the two (free!) pool tables at the south end of the bar, while another group ran the dartboard near the back.
To the few people I spoke with, Venom seemed like stop between spots — everyone asked me where I was before and where I’d be heading out after. There was nothing extravagant about the drink selection or the setting, but that’s not what anyone was looking for at Venom. Mostly, people said they stopped in for the very cheap (and, if you want it, strong) booze, the free pool, and the friendly bartenders. Also, from what I’m told, they never have a cover.
2407 N St. Mary’s
Vibe: Chill atmosphere with DJs and sometimes live music.
Best Use: Cheap inebriation.
Prices: $2.25 domestics, $3.50 imports, $1.50 Lone Star tallboys, $2 wells, $3 “Terminators”