qualitative by stariya



       The Mexican Depot is a restaurant in center city Philadelphia that serves a wide

variety of Mexican food along with a few American style meals. The restaurant is located

in an area of the city that is shared by both the tourist sectors and the local citizens. The

restaurant is located in the middle of three major hotels in the area; Government

operations buildings and law offices are also disbursed around the Mexican Depot.

        As you walk into the Mexican Depot, you step into the foyer like room that

contains a bench on the left, this room serves as a waiting room for guests who are

waiting for a table and the restaurant is full. There is a window above this bench, which

allows a full view of the lounge and bar area.

       As you walk into the second set of double doors, you see what is called a host

stand. This stand can be described as a podium like stand, which has a shelf at the top of

it. This shelf holds two woven wooden baskets. The basket closest to the doors is filled

with red, green, yellow and blue crayons. The basket behind that is full of menus. There

is a window over the host stand, which also reveals a view of the lounge and bar area.

There is a brown cushioned bench to the right of the host stand. This bench also has a

window behind it; this window has brown wooden blinds coming down it. As you

continue, walking you will see three-square tables to the far right of you and windows

with brown blinds behind them. These tables are known as 71, 72, and 73, with 71 being

closest to the door. To your left you will see the lounge specifically the booths, which

are part of the lounge. These booths are comparable to the other booths in the restaurant.

They have a window over each of them and are back to back and the two end benches

have shelf like ledges on them, which create a wall closest to the host stand.
       As you take a few steps into the lounge to your left, you will see table 18, which

is the only low seating square table in the lounge, and tables 17 and 16. As your eyes, go

around the lounge tables 15 is nearly under a TV. It is the height of the bar top and table

14 is right next to it. Table 14 is the exact replica of table 15. The register is between

tables 14 and 13. Table 13 is a low rectangle table and is exactly the same table style and

model as tables 12 and 11. Tables 15 through 11 are all in front of a large sectional

window. The bar is located in the middle of all the tables, having 19 chairs around it, 2

being low chairs.

                                             Bar Goers

       Being in the center of everything in the city, Mexican Depot attracts a variety of

clientele both tourist and locals. It seems to be the popular place of many to go after

work, after a long day of competitions or conventions or even after sight seeing. Julio,

also known as Latin Lover by the staff of the Mexican Lover because of the Casanova

demeanor he uses on many woman that enter the restaurant both staff and guests. He

knows nearly every staff member on a personal level, possibly because he spends roughly

six out of the seven evenings in a week at The Mexican Depot. These evenings are spent

at a particular seat at the bar at the Mexican Depot. He could be classified as being in the

upper middle class in terms of his socioeconomic status. He is in his late fifties early

sixties. He has salt and pepper hair around 5’10 in stature, unusually large facial features

and tan skin. He was raised in Puerto Rica by his grandmother and has a younger brother

who is deceased. He works for the city as the head of city management (Bartels, Victoria.

Fieldwork conducted at Mexican Depot, 3/17/09 3p). This means he works under the city

manager to carryout he or she’s plans for the budget and regulates the use of this money.
       A woman by the name of Layla comes to the Mexican Depot on a regular basis as

well. This woman seems to be an object of mystery to quite a few people at the Mexican

Depot. Her occupation is one of the many aspects of this cloud of mystery around her.

She dresses in a manner that suggests she may either be from an illegal occupation to

someone work works as a secretary depending on the day. Layla, herself however claims

to work for the FBI. Many of the staff and Julio have other speculations Layla’s actual

occupation however; no one seems to actually know for sure what she does for a living.

She seems to be from a lower middle class to working class socioeconomic background.

Layla has short wavy dyed blonde hair to her shoulders and appears to be in her late

thirties to early forties. She is around 5’8 in stature, and walks with a slight slump about

her. She wears a very liberal amount of make-up on her face and wears a wardrobe from

classifiably lusty attire to somewhat professional attire. She displays a variety of

emotions in the Mexican Depot that range from being extremely happy to being

completely miserable. She displays interest of some sort in Julio, but it seems to be a love

hate relationship that they share, where she is usually the one displaying this relationship

by the way she reacts or does not react to him.

       Edair is also a regular, however, he is not from Philadelphia. He flies into

Philadelphia every Monday before the workday, and flies out again every Thursday night.

Edair occasionally flies to other locations in the U.S., besides Philadelphia with his career

as a sales management manager. He permanently resides in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He

is a very cheerful man who shares little details about his life to the Mexican Depot staff

but does not tell any one too much about his personal life. He takes an interest in what the

staff is feeling as well, in one instance he expressed that he would rather sit where a
server who was having a bad day was station as opposed to his usual seat at the bar top,

(Bartels,Victoria. 3/24/09. Fieldwork conducted at Mexican Depot, 3p). Edair looks to

be in his early forties to late thirties and attractive for his age. He is very tall, possibly

around 6’3. He has a square shaped jaw line and walks with a stride that makes him seem

very confident and charming.

        These three people come into the Mexican Depot the most on a regular basis,

however they are not the only ones that come in often. Some come in slightly less often

as these three. Elinore, also known as mean lady by the staff of Mexican Depot due to

stand offish manner that she displays with them. she comes into the Mexican Depot often,

drinks margaritas with salt, and reads her book. She is an older woman who wears

glasses with a string around them, she has a very narrow thin face and thin body. She

wears a very conservative wardrobe to the restaurant and seems to be from an upper

middle class socioeconomic class. The last Mexican Depot client is a man in his early

thirties named Kaden. Kaden dresses in a trendy manner and closely resembles the rapper

known as Kanye West aside from his height. Kaden looks to be about 6’.

        Two bartenders work predominantly more than others and show up a number of

times. These two bartenders are Mike and Ginny. Mike is in his late thirties and works as

a computer programmer as well as working as a bartender. He is slightly balding at the

top of his head and is roughly around 6’2 or 6’3. Ginny on the other hand is a recent

college graduate who is in her early twenties. She has short blonde curly hair, and a very

round face and stands about 5’6. These bartenders show up in quite a few of the nights

that were observed.
                                Just A Drink Or a Deeper Meaning

        Gender, Gender Roles, Sexuality and Class seem to play a huge role in the regular

events at the Mexican Depot. These overlaying themes depict what drinks are ordered by

clientele, along with who makes advances to whom in the setting of the bar. They also

determine activities clients take part in at the bar in general.

        In the setting of the Mexican Depot, it is apparent that masculinity can be

displayed through the drinks that clients consumed. In terms of Gender, men seem to

drink more plain, unaltered drinks such as beer or shots, without chasers. Men like Edair

and Kaden drink beers when they come to the Mexican Depot. When noticing what

women drink it follows an opposite pattern in behaviors. Women tend to drink fancier

mixed drinks. Women order drinks that seem to resemble a more upscale sex in the city


        This drink selection does not only seem to be dependant soling on gender

however, it also has something to do with their socioeconomic status. Classier drinks

seem to be ordered by those of higher socioeconomic status. Julio for example always

drinks martinis at the Mexican Depot. He is more metro sexual and a higher class than

most other men besides Edair, who appears to be a high status than Julio. Edair appears to

be of a higher socioeconomic status than Julio and he always drinks a large beer. He

seems to be more confident than of the other clients at the restaurant, therefore it may be

said that he does not need to have a specific drink to determine his class status.

        Class is also shows it self in the way clients dress when they come to the

restaurant. Clients of a high socioeconomic status wear clothes that are more

conservative, plainer and more fabric in general. For example, even when Edair come to
the Mexican Depot in jeans and a long sleeve red adidas shirt he appeared to still be of a

high status than most of the clients at the restaurant. He walks with confidence and is

usually smiling. Layla on the opposite side of the class distitinction wears clothes that

make her appear to be a lower class than most of the clients at the restaurant. She also

walks with a slight slump, which also leads to the assumption that she is from a lower

status and possibly has a low sense of self-confidence.

       Gender roles and sexuality are the last themes that are discovered at the Mexican

Depot. Men always make advances on women. Julio makes advances on several

occasions in the research on women, who are both staff and clients. His advances at a

staff member and him telling her that he would love to see her a short skirt and boots with

her hair down, (Batels, Victoria. 3/17/09 Fieldwork conducted at Mexican Depot, 3p). In

another instance, a man actually puts his hand down a woman’s shirt, indicating his sense

of superiority toward her, (3/17/09). This comes off as being rude, however it also shows

his sense of masculinity toward her. In all of the research conducted it appeared that

Layla was the only woman to many any advances on a man, which ended in him not

being interested in her.


Many people who were in involved in the research were unaware of their participation in

a study. the managers of the restaurant and a few members of the staff knew about the

research that was being conducted but the clients were unaware completely. This made

the Hawthorne effect to be minimized in results of the study. However, bias may have

occurred in the study due to conducting the study as a member of the staff of the Mexican

Depot. This may have caused a certain amount of subjectivity. Someone who did not
have a previous relationship with the subjects involved in study may avoid this


       A good recommendation for future research of the Mexican Depot or any

restaurant or bar setting would be to focus in one particular theme instead of this studies

idea of multiple themes in the setting. This has a greater possibility of achieving a more

solid foundation of the overall setting. The research would also achieve more through a

longer study. This study only being carried out for five weeks, are not suffient enough to

make any solid theories. In conclusion, the gender roles of the research portrayed

dominant themes of Gender, sexuality, gender roles and class in a way that can only be

studied in a bar like setting and showed a particular way people behave at a bar under the

influence of alcohol.


Bartels, Victoria. Fieldwork conducted at Mexican Depot.

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