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“a woman walks into a bar…” at the W Hotel Hollywood

on 27/04/11 at 3:47 pm

a woman walks into a bar..., BoozeBlog

Hotel bars. A whole different kettle of cocktails.  From the Frolic Room dive bar across the street to the outdoor, flaming W lounge bar, from a film crew shooting a movie in front of the W to hapless bar flies milling and smoking around the Frolic Room doorway, the bars couldn’t be on more different planets. So near and yet so far. The scene could have been right out of a Nouvelle Vague movie, all black and white on one side, all vibrant color on the other.

Walking through a seeming wall of glass, I head for the small outdoor bar. Hmmm, not too many people yet. Well, it’s early. Empty bar stool to my right, then two guys leaning on the bar looking bored. To my left, hey, it’s Marlene. We just met a moment ago. The audtioned-for-their looks bartenders are cheery and attentive. Everyone in black, girls in décolleté easily pass the casual beauty test. Giant tv screen looms over the crowd.

Bartender Pia zeroes in on my ring, oh that’s gorgeous. I can’t remember the name of the stone she’s ooohing over but she schools me on how stones have metaphysical properties, how to become conscious of how they can help you move beyond challenges, to develop a rapport with them. Love is in the earth. Stones can help you repel negative energy, develop courage. Actually, a drink would help me do that.

Oh, wait, there’s more. To keep those positive vibes coming her way, Pia keeps a couple of tumbled stones – a black tourmaline and an aquamarine – close to her heart, like, in her bra. No way, you have stones in your bra? A quick dive behind the bar and, whoa, she pops up with the two stones. Still warm. I’m impressed. I could use some stones – let’s see – to attract winning lottery numbers, repel jerks, attract a great handyman (to fix my house), repel termites for a start.

Pia: I can take away negativity for you by rubbing this stone, it’s kyanite, on your ring…want me to? Oh god please take away all those bad vibes. I’m sure there’s tons. Pia rubs the stone in my ring and, if nothing else, her good cheer vaporizes any aura of adversity. She’s cool. Beautiful. The guy that slipped into the chair next to me chats her up. They yak about mutually disappearing dads, anger management, real estate and her Black/White/Jamaican/Indian/Cuban heritage.

It’s time to order a drink. No, haven’t had one all this time. My drink, a Manhattan. I’m asked how I like it…what proportions? Are they being overly polite? Shouldn’t they know how to make a Manhattan? Aaargh, I’m at a bar, a seemingly upscale bar. Ok, so I pick from one of the two spirits offered, go with the Rittenhouse 100. What kind of vermouth? Huh? They pour Noilly Prat. Oh, you want Angostura Bitters? Ingredients are poured into the Boston shaker, about to be shaken. NO! Stir please! I can hear the liquids stirred over cracked ice. Sigh. Drink is poured. No cherry. Did she forget? We don’t have cherries, well we do, but they’re soaked in brandy. No, no. No brandy soaked cherry, thanks. How come no Luxardo cherries? Oh, IDG runs the bar and they hired a mixologist who said we didn’t need cherries. She’s the one who brought in the brandied cherries. You know, people like that. They really don’t care what they’re drinking…and I saw evidence of that.

It reminds me of the article: 5 Surefire Ways to Piss Off the Bartender, #3. Have no clue what you want to drink but these bartenders go with the flow. Time and again people came up to the bar and asked “What should I have?”, “What’s good, surprise me.”, and the best “Can you make me something that tastes like a vodka tonic but isn’t?” I have to say the bartenders were so good-natured, they must have encountered clueless drinkers a thousand times. This is a fast-paced hotel bar, especially on the weekends, so they move this stuff very quickly. Okay, I go with the flow also. But I miss that damn cherry.

Marlene’s been talking to a bunch of people gathered at the bar. She tells me they’re a singles networking group, EOW – Every Other Wednesday – but this is Monday so there’s a temporary name change. The leader is a biz school prof by day. Marlene: That woman on the other side of me is a matchmaker. She tried to fix me up with some guy she said was totally great but it made me wonder why she didn’t nab him? What was wrong with him? No, she’s not married. Yes, Marlene did meet someone once. Lasted one date.  Where are the real men, she bemoans and answers her own question with a shout, “Texas!” Good luck, Marlene!

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