There comes a time during every party hopping night when you want to stop hopping, but keep your juices flowing along with the champagne and wine. The unofficial designated venue for this practice last night was Austin's historic hotel The Driskill. Filled with elegance, ambiance, and a cozy upstairs bar and lounge area, The Driskill seemed to be the perfect end-up spot for our crew.
What started off as a group of approximately 20 techies from Los Angeles and San Francisco turned into a mosh pit of SXSW-ers from across the land within an hour. At this point of the night, the schmoozing turned into smooching, and corks popped like clockwork, as people who had been chasing one another down all night finally came together in one place.
Come 1:30 AM the crowd began to thin, and people started
brainstorming about where to get noms. It goes without saying that
whenever large groups of people try to collectively make decisions,
they dawdle and loiter. The loitering vicinity ended up being the main
entrance of The Driskill, which I'm guessing didn't make hotel
management happy. However, last call was a good hour away, so a
handful of people including one of the flashmob's hosts and new media
scene was starting to dwindle, and there was a full bottle of unopened
champagne ripe for the taking. Just as our stomachs started to expand
from warp-speed bread and cheese consumption, a tall distinguished man
wearing a suit and an earpiece approached the table and grabbed Craig's
champagne glass out of his hand.
“You need to leave,” said the man. “We're closing.”
yet finished drinking his champagne, Craig grabbed his glass back from
the man and told him he wasn't done. Tensions and testosterone levels
began to rise.
About five seconds after that, the same hotel
manager grabbed a glass out of someone else's hand. This of course led
to an argument, and additional security men approached the table
telling us all to leave because the police would be arriving soon.
Driskill, like any Austin establishment must abide by Texas law, which
mandates that all venues stop serving alcohol after 2:00 AM. Security
approached our table at 2:15 AM, so it's understandable that they
wanted everyone out of there.
However, there is a professional
and polite way of doing things, and there is a rude and obnoxious way
of doing things. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the course
of action The Driskill's security men took falls into the latter
category. There was no approaching the table and calmly asking the
customers, who had just dropped several bottles worth of expensive
champagne money into the bar that night and the night before, to please
leave the hotel. There was no calmness or politeness exhibited at any
point during the entire process. There was only aggressiveness and a
lot of grabbing.
Needless to say, The Driskill just lost some
damn good business this week. We weren't fans of the music they played
upstairs, anyway. Coincidentally, I am Foursquare mayor of The
Driskill. Should we have hotel management send us a free bottle of
Favorite OH of the party: “Wow, a lot of people wanna get f@!#ed at South by Southwest.”
View more photos in the “SXSW Parties: TechSet, Tweethouse & (Another) Driskill Flashmob” slideshow.