“I’m sorry, but the tables are pretty full, tonight.” the hostess tells you without an ounce of sympathy in her voice, or indeed, any other emotion beyond “smiling.” “Would you maybe like to wait at the bar until something opens up?”
Not really, you think, but the hostess has already extended her arm in the vague direction of where you need to go, and doesn’t seem to be in any hurry to put it down until you do. You head for the bar; If for no other reason than for the sake of what her elbow.
Given the typically cramped nature of the rest of the establishment, the bar area is surprisingly open; though you surmise that has as much to do with you being one of the only two people there at the moment. Despite this, it takes nearly 5 min. for the bartender to walk over to you.
His appearance is hard to properly quantify. Tall, and lean, with angular features, and dark hair so close-cropped, you swear it was stenciled in. Initially, you think he might be pale, but with the entire bar area backlit in neon blue and green, it could just as easily be a trick of the light.
Like seemingly every other employee in here, his default expression is a smile; the type which doesn’t reach the eyes. On him, however, this is especially noticeable, due to the fact that both of his are dark; both in color and in their general area. Upon first glance, one could almost say it looked as though he needed more sleep but, as you continue to stare, his eyes reveal themselves to be quite alert. Alert, and uncomfortably intense .
“Hi there.” he says, in a flat, even tone. “Would you like to see a drinks menu?”
“Actually, I was just hoping to get a bee-” you start.
“Might I recommend looking at the specials?” he continues, as if you hadn’t responded.
“April is ‘Blue Skies Smilin’ At Me’ month. Any blue drink purchased after 4:30. Is a 1/3 off the regular price.”
“I think I’m okay.” you say. “I really could just use-”
Wordlessly, he brings up a menu from behind the bar and places it in front of you. It appears to be the specials menu he brought up, before. It also appears to be at least seven pages in length.
“What can I get started for you?” the bartender asks. “We’ve got the standard Blue Curacao, but then there’s house specials like the Ginger Bluenihana, or the SangoBerry-Faego Gin Fizz. That’s the one the guy at the end of the bar has.”
You look over towards the end. Seated with an empty stool on either side of him, an overweight man of indeterminate middle age sits tipping what looks to be a soup bowl glued to the top of a champagne flute and filled with a liquid which seems both cloudy and shockingly bright at the same time. The man puts the glass down and smacks his lips, apparently satisfied with the concoction.
Noticing you staring at him, the man stares back with a grin and a wink. You quickly break further eye contact.
You find yourself now staring directly at the bartender; his dark eyes now quite visible.
“Looks good, doesn’t it?” he says. “How about I get one started for you?”
Another week down, another drink up. Thanks everyone for the positive response last week. I was thinking for awhile about writing something for the site, and I kind of did this on a lark; it was nice to see that seemed to have legs. It was interesting hearing everyone’s different perspectives; and I hope you all felt the same way.