I am up far too early for having gone to bed at approximately 4 am. I hold the looming thought of the inevitability of going to Lowes today at bay. My camera is full, my coffee is warm, and giddy girls carry on downstairs. Last night is almost like a dream at this point. Mostly a good dream except for a place I won’t mention by name. Hey, in the words of Doris Day… “Que Sera Sera, whatever will be will be
I actually need to start with last
weekend if only a mere mention. I know this is odd and not my usual modus operandi. It’s just that I had never been to The Melting Pot
and had both burners fully functional! This is like the place for special occasions to a certain pair of friends. It was ½ the pair’s B-Day and fondue was in the air.
Wait. I must back up even more to Happy Hour at The Doubletree Hotel (downtown)! In the Ice Lounge there is an event each Friday hosted by Justin George and Gabe Madrid called Hi Fi Soul
. 6-10. Laid back music and Sky Vodka specials. It’s very stylish. Know the bartender has a dry sense of humor… all the better to make martinis with!
So back to The Melting Pot. Chimay Red Ale in a bottle for $8. $8.?! For a beer?! Well it was delicious. Then they have some interesting cocktails on the menu such as the Love Martini. They have fondue. Lots of fondue.
The week crawls by. Can’t recall anything too exciting other than trying not to be a danger to myself or others. Thursday night I had the pleasure of tagging along with Mac-Tire of Skye Pipes and Drums
to their weekly rehearsal. I am writing a magazine article about them.
What won’t be in that article is that we met at Billy’s Long Bar
and finished up at Sneakerz
. Ya know what? Pretty girls work at both places. They have cold beer at both places. But I was pleasantly surprised to find that they make their own pizza at Sneakerz and it was good! I was even more surprised to find that they made a perfect dirty martini at Sneakerz!! I owe that bartender a “Martini Mike Approved” bumper sticker. Seriously.
Aaaahhhh Friday Night! Can I make it? Tired. Angry. Alone. Yup. Damnedest thing I ever saw. All the guys wanted to stay home. Some of the girls were having “Girl Night”. Others ate with their parents and other mellow plans. That’s O.K. – I have been known to be a lone wolf before. “Driver, drop me at Carlisle and Central” “I am going to drink my way west!” I walk swiftly into the heart of Nob Hill
. I search for the first open bar stool beginning at Geckos
. Full. Scalo
… full. Nob Hill Bar and Grill
… full. Monte Vista Fire Station
… empty! Except for a few hooligans on the patio anyway.
I used to spend much more quality time at “MV”, or “Monte Vista”. She’s like that ex girlfriend you still get along with and wish the best for. It’s nice to talk now and then but you are not going to start spending the night. Angelo graces the bar. I guzzle a $3 Bacardi and Coke. I try not to stare blankly at the Pistons game showing on a big screen. I’ve known Angelo since I was a boy. We grew up on the same rough streets of Paradise Hills. We are the few who are not dead, in prison, or hooked on crack. Seriously. The other bartender spies my empty glass and quickly refills it with Old Mr. Boston
and Coke. I wince, pound, walk.
I try to entice my former intern turned employee turned back to college student, Nishan, into attending this super “Guy Night Out”. His reply text say’s something like “doing good old programming homework”. My reply say’s something like “BOGUS. You don’t wanna look lame in my blog do you?” I don’t hear from him again. Shout. Fellow photog Lloyd Thrap is downtown. I’m gonna stick to the hood. Nob Hill Bar and Grill (NHBG) has emptied out a bit now!
At NHBG there are now 12 empty bar stools. I like sitting at bars. Sebree, mixologist extraordinaire, schools me on what is what tonight. There are some funky drinks going on. “Orange/Basil Mojito”. “Peel Me a Grape”. “Rosemary Sparkling Lemonade”. I settle on the lemonade. It contains a house made Sweet and Sour, Champagne, Vodka, and I don’t know what. It’s sweet… a “girl drink” ha ha, but good. Trail mix sits in bowls across the bar. I think of Ben Stiller’s character in “Along Came Polly
” and avoid the fingered food
. I say hi to Deb the GM, hi to Sam the man
(Chef), hi to Michael and Fred. Happy hour is 4-6 AND 10-12!
Next drink… “The Nob Hill”. Ketel One, and lemon cured blue cheese stuffed olives, stirred. OK, I will have to speak with someone about this “Stirred” thing but where else in town can you get a blue cheese stuffed olive for God’s sake?! And Winston Churchill would be proud… no vermouth. Oops! “Other” bartender tells me he put vermouth in it. I knew I wasn’t crazy. Hey, I heard that. My pallet is finely tuned.
Must-have-Tuna-Nachos. (I said that like a Shatner/Zombie hybrid)
Jenny the waitress stops by to chat. DJ Matthew begins to spin the mad tunes.
Two stools down a stranger and I recognize each other. “Hey, weren’t you in that magazine?” (To each other). It is Leah Black from 93.3 KOB
. I am soon surrounded by other beautiful women. Monica and another Leah now sit between us. I make them try the Tuna Nachos. They are hooked.
Next stop… Zinc
. Kevin the owner is upstairs as that bar winds down.
Tonight’s bartender is Maeghan. She said it was OK to refer to her here as “sweet little cutie pants Scottish Nymph”. She made me a drink called a Red Wall. The Red Wall is Basil Hayden
Bourbon, Amaretto Disaranno
, slivered almonds, and brandy soaked cherries. It was so good. I mean it was just awesome. This drink is so good that I had to take several pictures of it
. Upstairs closes. Downstairs is absolutely packed.
I begin to return east on Route 66
. I am stopped along the way and enticed into yet another establishment, one which I had planned to avoid. It is also packed. I ran into some friends here who left shortly afterward, as did I. Somewhere in the middle they had pointed out that some guy was giving me a really dirty look from around a corner. That’s their consultant! (This place which I won’t name) Then I saw him peak around the corner and do it a second time with my own eyes. The third time is when I threw him the finger. Consult that. Some people just don't like me I guess. By the time I went looking for him I was told he had left rather abruptly. Ha. His lucky night.
The possibilities are endless along this stretch of Route 66. There are so many good bars and restaurants. Where to next? Uh oh... I knew there'd be trouble tonight. Three hot chicks who have been drinking, and their DD, pick me up on Central. Easy money? It’s Mrs. Martini Mike, and friends, coming from downtown. After hours party! My house? Again? Well, twist my arm.
* WARNING: Martini Mike is a trained professional. Do not try to party like this at home.