We wear casual clothes, there's no velvet rope, and you don't have to take out a second mortgage to buy a round of drinks: I'm writing in response to Humberto Guida's "BuzzIn" column about Our Place in Miami Lakes ("Dive Bar Shenanigans," August 5). I am a regular at Our Place and have to say that Guida did a great disservice to this establishment. First, if he'd been paying more attention to the crowd than the women he was trying to pick up, he would've noticed that most people at Our Place dress casually but well. While we can't all afford designer labels, we do the best we can and pull it off admirably, if I do say so myself.
Second, I've been a regular at Our Place since late last year. The reason I keep going? My first visit was all right but nothing special. I took a week off for personal reasons and returned two weeks later. When I entered the bar, not only was my drink ready and waiting when I sat at the bar, but the "pony-tailed Glenn Danzig wannabe" who hosts the karaoke show actually asked where I'd been the previous week. It is this almost familial welcome that most regulars at Our Place enjoy and even crave.
Third, the host, whose name incidentally is Ernie, is one of the nicest people I know. I'm honored to call him my friend. But more important, his goal at each show is to give everyone a good time. Having been privy to some of the comments he's received, I'd say he succeeds.
Lastly, anyone entering Our Place with a South Beach mentality will not enjoy the place. It is a neighborhood bar in that those who go there are part of a "family." We look out for each other, make sure no one drives home who shouldn't, and if necessary, kick some butt to keep those more unsavory characters who may wander in (like a certain writer at an "esteemed publication") from bothering our friends.
I can't promise that Our Place is for everyone, but I can promise that if you go with the intention of having a good time, and not full of self-importance (like a certain writer at an "esteemed publication"), then you will have a good time. For those interested, Our Place has a Website (another detail Guida missed) at www.ourplace-miami.com. Take a look for yourself, and see what you're missing.
Giving new meaning to Kitchen Patrol: It's not whether it is unlawful to capture pigeons, it is what is being done with them that may be unlawful ("The Bitch," July 29). Uninspected restaurant food may be pigeon disguised as chicken.
Before we have an epidemic of an unknown virus, it is incumbent on the Miami Beach mayor and police to protect the public and find out what happened to the pigeons cruelly captured in the alley.
Jean D. Robbins
It's voluntary, it's expensive, and it's for white guys: I knew after reading Humberto Guida's "BuzzIn" column ("Player Haters," July 8) that he has a clear understanding of things. While "pussifying America" through political correctness is a bad thing, here's another disturbing reality: hip-hop culture and Caucasians in identity crisis who act and dress black. I believe this is the black man's revenge for slavery -- en$lave white Americans with hip-hop fashions and gang-related music.
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Do you really think I respect someone, especially a Caucasian, who calls me dawg or homie? Who greets me with wazup or calls his studio apartment a crib? I have to stop myself from laughing while looking down on them as a weak genetic link in our pathetic society and its sheep mentality.
The other truth is this: Hip-hop is in fact gang-related and creates a hostile environment for everyone. It's all about guns and drugs and hookers and territorial battles. Get a life! I don't really like hip-hop, but I do agree with Guida: If someone's right to live and dress the way he wants is taken away, then all our rights are in jeopardy.
Ivan Gutierrez, Jr.