One of the reasons I chose this place even though there were three top hotels in the near vicinity, was I assumed it was cheap, and after my latest sojourn to the Carlyle, my budget was already bleeding.
I sat at the far end of the bar that was empty, the other side filled with men smelling like OTB, smoke clinging to their sleeves and whiskers, shots of whiskey warming their callused hands. A rather large bartender in his early 70s I’ll say…a lifer…been bartending since infancy…ambles over in a yellowish permanent-press button-down popped open at the bottom.
“What’il be?” he says, leaning in, a rag tossed over his shoulder.
“Vodka and tonic please. Extra lime.” He nods, without asking, did I want a specific brand. Red flag folks. Unless you do want Stoli or something similar, make sure he’s not making that decision for you. It ups your check like it was given Miracle Gro.
As I take my first sip, I realize, it’s all tonic. Blow, I mean Joe, the bartender didn’t give me a full shot. I’m just a girl in a wrinkled raincoat after all, he’s never seen before nor, more than likely, will again, so lets cheat her why don’t we. A cynical theory, but it’s all I have.
Of course, I needed that buzz too badly not to address it.
“Excuse me, there’s hardly any vodka in here. I’d like another one please.”
This was one place doing your best Jackie O held no weight. If looks could kill, I would have been in cement shoes rather than Manolos since in seconds, he returns with a scowl and two glasses. One empty, just with ice, the other filled to the brim with vodka he plunks down never taking his icy eyes off of me.
I say nothing, mixing the drink myself that in moments, puts me on my ass. Suddenly I’m seeing two of him, which was more than a little alarming, while the room spun around like a dreidel.
He sidles over with it already made out watching as I read it.
“Are you kidding me? You are charging me for two drinks at 14 bucks apiece? The Carlyle doesn’t charge this, plus the first one had no vodka.”
We then see two other goons glide in from the kitchen area awaiting my final reaction. Now all I can say is, if I wasn’t so inebriated I would have held my own. Would have argued and called for help if I had to, however…I knew, in more ways than one, I hadn’t a leg to stand on.
Well that’ill teach you Susannah to one, assume a place is inexpensive because the facade needs painting, and perhaps drinking in the shank of the afternoon when you’re already not at your best may not be such a great idea. And who are you anyway, Lionel Barrymore who needs a stiffer drink than the one she’s given?
Yeah, lessons all around that second round, she thought, climbing headfirst into a cab thirty bucks poorer.