A Shot in the Dark: Punch Crunk at the Rainforest Cafe

Zebras and parrots, but still the mall.

To say the Rainforest Café is overwhelming would be a gross understatement. The tropical-themed chain restaurant features animatronic animals, waterfalls, and even a simulated thunderstorm every 30 minutes. The servers and kids usually have smiles plastered on their faces; the parents look less than thrilled. Hence, the Rainforest Café offers refuge (read: a bar) behind a giant purple elephant and a litter of baby chimpanzees in banana cocoons. We opt to sit there, me on a zebra and my buddy on a parrot. An upbeat bartender, perhaps sensing our apprehension, recommends we try the Panama Punch, which consists of Bacardi 151, 99-proof banana schnapps, peach schnapps, and pineapple juice. "It's the strongest drink on the menu!" he says enthusiastically, before convincing us to drop another $2 apiece on illuminated souvenir glasses. ("They can be your crunk cups!" he exclaims.) Two flashing Panama Punches later, we're feeling pretty good. A guy sitting alone at the bar—his wife and 18-month-old baby are elsewhere in the rainforest—looks over longingly. "I had one of those cups," he says, sighing. "But it turned on in my bag during a flight, so the battery was dead by the time I landed." The bartender then informs us that a souvenir cup's battery life is 30 hours. We immediately turn ours off. But once the flashing ceases, the fun does too, and we become highly aware that we're drinking atop plastic animals in a fucking mall. 

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