We walk into the bar, which appears to be relatively new and boasts a couple of dozen taps, some of which hold promise. We grab a table, only to notice that it’s positioned at the top of the staircase leading to the toilets, with all the the attendant aromas, and quickly decamp to the bar. A woman who appears to be a server would seem to have noticed us, but does nothing.
From our perch at the bar, we wait in vain for service. Time passes. Following much arm waving, Maggie finally draws the attention of the server, who nudges the woman beside her, who turns out to be the bartender. Despite there being only two other deuces in the bar, and the three to four minutes we took getting settled, the bartender claims she didn’t see us “sneak in.”
I ask if the Hacker-Pschorr on tap is lager or hefeweizen and she looks at me like I’ve just grown horns. Says she doesn’t know, but can give me a taste, after which she presents me with a foamy thimbleful of beer. I sniff and sip, discovering that it’s weizen, but old weizen. I opt instead for Headstrong Pale Ale.
Maggie asks for red vermouth and soda. More horns. She directs the bartender towards the bottle, slowly. “Right over there,” Maggie guides, “Behind the Stoli.” The bartender can’t even locate the vodka.
When she finally finds the Martini & Rossi, the bartender returns for a repeat of the instructions. “Ice, vermouth, soda water.” Away she goes, only to return a couple of minutes later with a pint glass – a pint glass!! – of vaguely rust-colored soda. My pint finally shows up a little after that, oxidized, but not so much so as the Hacker.
Cutting our losses, we ask for the bill and leave half our drinks. Maggie has been charged extra for the soda. We won’t be back.
Two blocks or so down the road, we enter another pub, a busier pub, and are greeted with a cheery hello the moment we cross the threshold. Here, we stayed.