By Michael E. Miller
By Allie Conti
By David Villano
By Jose D. Duran
By Michael E. Miller
By Allie Conti
By Kyle Swenson
By Luther Campbell
A Taurus can be a bull, a generic family sedan, or, if you have a speech impediment, a camera-toting traveler wearing a fanny pack.
But to us locals, Taurus (3540 Main Hwy., Coconut Grove; 305-441-0219) has long been synonymous with a beloved neighborhood watering hole that opened in 1926. Located inside a converted white cottage on the lush, peacock-inhabited fringes of Coconut Grove, it has a smoky, cobblestone patio that has provided brews, grilled burgers, and a fantastic setting for potential guests of The Maury Show to meet, mingle, and squabble over the identity of their babies' daddies.
Though the place closed for seven years — from 2002 to 2009 — it's pretty much just as it used to be. There are the original hardwood floors, fireplace, and plaques with names of longtime regulars. There are also some new touches: comfy patio furniture, a burger spritzed with truffle oil, and a mammoth 4-year-old harlequin Great Dane named Gryphon.
This lovely pub seems at first blush to exhibit the same qualities as the astrological sign that shares its name: charm, stability, warmth, and practicality. But as summer fades to fall — and Leo makes way for Virgo — Loon charged in to discover if the patrons are similarly chivalrous.
Juliet — a freckle-faced, 28-year-old blonde straddling a large saddle attached to a stool next to the wood-and-faux-marble bar inside — would like to be a Taurus. But she was born a day late, on May 21 (the sign covers April 20 to May 20). "I always tell people I'm a Taurus," she says. "Because when I tell them I'm a Gemini [sign: the twins], they automatically think I'm two-faced. And, really, what you see is what you get with me." She bats the lashes that border her light-green eyes. "I mean, I don't even wear makeup!"
She sips from a plastic glass of sparkling white wine, freshly plopped down in front of her at the bar (free for ladies every Wednesday until midnight) and leads me outside to an umbrellaed table.
"Geminis aren't so bad," she says. "I mean, if you want to talk about being insincere, I used to date a Scorpio."
She looks at me like I should automatically understand.
"See, he was all involved in the Miami club scene and worked as a 'promoter,'" she says, gesturing with air quotes. "Which pretty much means he had no job.
"So he was always trying to con me into buying things for him. The worst was cigarettes — I don't smoke and don't particularly like the smell. But somehow he'd always manipulate me into buying him a pack. One day, while we were driving somewhere, he asked if I could buy him Marlboro Reds, and I refused.
"So he got pissed. He then ejected the CD I was listening to in my car and put in some godawful trance crap. I told him to take that shit out of my stereo, and he got so pissed off he yelled, 'Fine!' jerked it out, rolled down the window, and chucked it at another car, almost causing an accident, which he said would've been my fault if it had happened because I wouldn't buy him cigarettes!
"I broke up with him that same day."
Any other signs she's not very fond of?
"Leos. For some reason, I just don't like Leos. They're all about drama."
Just then, we see a tall, thin woman with flowing lioness locks wobble out of the bar. Her high heel gets stuck in the sagging cuff of her pants, and she falls flat on her face.
"See," Juliet says as we walk back inside to fetch the full-maned lush a glass of water. "I bet that girl's a Leo."
Turns out her name is Cat. But she's not a Leo; she's a Libra — the sign of balance.
I ask Cat's friend Alexis, a spacy 21-year-old Pisces in black skinny jeans and bright purple Reebok Freestyle high-tops, if there are any signs that boggle her mind.
"Yield," she says. "I can never really understand what that means exactly."
"No," I clarify, "astrological signs."
"Oooh!" she says in an airy drawl. "Well, I love Aries."
"Because they're adventurous and make life more exciting. I once got woken up at 5 a.m. by this Aries guy that I had a crush on. He had just gotten jumped by gang members in Hialeah, so I came to pick him up, took him to a motel on Eighth Street, cleaned up his wounds, and then we both left the room and bombed the streets with graffiti. It made me feel... alive, ya know?"
Sure. But another member of Alexis and Cat's crew, Melanie — a saucy, red-headed, 24-year-old Virgo who ironically loves talking about sex — thinks getting it on with an Aries is like "banging a corpse."
"Well, on second thought," she says, tilting her head, "a dead person at least becomes stiff. The Aries I was with was a hippie type who drove an Audi and had all these weird stories about tripping with a shaman in a cave in Peru. After a vegan dinner, we finally got it on, and he had a hard time. When I confronted him about it, he blamed it all on 'the flower of his sacred geometry' or some crazy shit like that. I just told him to go home."