TRAVEL: Tom Waits Opens The Get Out Inn, A New “Couch & Lunch” Establishment

By Ara Von Niv (originally published at The Umpteenth Times) ♦ acronym march 2010

You know, there are some nights where you just don’t want to head home and be hassled by your old lady,” said singer, Tom Waits. “And some nights you don’t want the formality of a bed.  And you sure as hell don’t want to be up before 1:00 pm.  That’s what drives the ‘couch & lunch’ concept.   You need a place to crash and it ain’t home.”

imagesThe new establishment, located in New York’s Chinatown, is aimed at gentlemen who have lost the keys to their hotel room, can’t recall which city they’re in, or who are not presently welcome at home.

Waits explains, “This just sort of came to me one night, out of the blue. Surprised I didn’t think of it sooner.”

Amelia Gladbonnet, editor of Bed & Breakfast Weekly, expressed a distaste for such a concept and insisted her magazine “refuse to evaluate this particular establishment. It is most likely as unseemly as it sounds. I shudder at the thought of such a place. I daresay the crumpets will be stale.”

“We don’t have crumpets,” Waits responded, upon hearing of Ms. Gladbonnet’s opinion. “We’ll have a couple of Bibles lying around, just in case some of the, you know, customers need a little something The Get Out Inn can’t provide. Bibles and crossbows.”

The decor of The Get Out Inn consists of second-hand store couches, a hook for your hat, and thick, heavy curtains that are always drawn, keeping the sunlight from getting in.

Lunch consists of a sandwich, some coffee, and no conversation.

Waits: “Your troubles are your business. You need to talk to somebody? Go see last night’s bartender. They already know your story. We’re not keen on hearing yesterday’s news, even if it’s happening today.”

The ‘couch & lunch’ is managed by a one-handed former South Pacific pirate named Tong, who Waits once met at a bodega in Queens, N.Y., one day when buying a copy of The Daily News. “I like Tong. He doesn’t talk all that much. It’s all business with him, and everything runs likes your grandpa’s pocket watch.”

Patrons of the Inn are also provided some degree of anonymity during their stay.

“We’re not keeping much of a guest registry here. First names only, no dates allowed, cash preferred,” explained Waits. “Just a place for the fellas to come and sleep it off. Not a cave, exactly, but you’re not imposing upon anybody at The Get Out Inn. That said, we like our visitors to adhere to our two-night policy. Anything more than that and you either need to read the roommate-wanted list or drag a sizable cardboard box to the park.”