Now, weeks later, as the air cools for autumn and drinks like margaritas and daiquiris are no longer being craved, I am immersed in the financial corporate culture, I need a drink. Or, rather, drinks and indulge with one of my favorite drinking partners.
I indulge myself en route to the bar and walk leisurely down St. Mark's Place, filled with hipsters and tourists alike, patronizing funky Asian noodle shops and cheap costume jewelry stores selling pink wigs and huge bangle bracelets. I feel a little out of place, for Wall Street is a tad stuffy, and for a moment I wish I was back in college wearing my hipster knit hat from Urban Outfitters(back when it was cool and not commonplace) thinking I could save the world. I dont look back as I walk down the street, though. I am too excited about the bar and seeing J. Sarah.
Turning down East Sixth Street, I begin to walk past all of the wonderful Indian restaurants that are housed there, stopping at each and every other one to gingerly check out the menus displayed on makeshift stands on the sidewalk. Samosa chat...biryanis of all sorts...tandoori...dal. How I would love to just spend a weekend in this neighborhood sampling Indian food with my Prince. I pass a favorite of his - Taj. We have yet to eat there together, and I really would like to go back there with him in the near future. I continue to walk and daydream about the Prince until I reach the facade of the bar.
The facade is slightly intimidating, with a big wooden door and a large metal handle. I walked into darkness and had to peel back thick, velour curtains. What I saw was exactly the image you see above...only two bartenders, both in suspenders, were behind the bar and a hostess greeted me with a smile and warmth...not exactly what I expected walking into such a place. I was the first person there of the evening, J. Sarah en route, and got a corner table where I could spread out a bit and breathe. The cocktail waitress was equally warm, and when I saw that a drink I wanted "Company Buck" was no longer on the cocktail menu (what a menu, let me tell you), she had the bartender make it special for me. It was rum, ginger beer, lime juice, and a splash of pineapple with the biggest ice cubes lined up vertically perfect in a glass with a straw and symmetrically rounded lime wedge. I sipped slowly as I waited for J. Sarah, and when she arrived I was, as always, completely happy to see my most kindred spirit.
The spirit she ordered was made with gin, of course. She is not one for sweet drinks, but I found myself sipping her cocktail anyway and enjoying it. The cocktail waitress made a big to do about the orange bitter, lighting a match on the rind and creating a small, fiery show right before it landed into the caramel colored cocktail. We ordered little bites to eat - pretzel bites with honey mustard, oysters "rock a fella" (creamed spinach in an oyster shell topped with a fried oyster), pita bites, and salmon sliders. I can think of few things I love more than the combination of my best friend, cocktails, food, and laughter all at the same time. I ordered another drink - this time one called "Black Prince" that is dark and rich and delicious.
I look forward to more nights in the city like this now that I am working here...