Thursday, December 30, 2010

the naughty toddy

naughty toddy

Sometimes, while sitting at my desk, sipping a new-to-me tea, I fathom a drink recipe. I text PerryA the idea. She shares the enthusiasm. We test a few variations. A week or so passes. Then, there arrives a night when the honey whiskey we have on hand makes it all fall into place effortlessly.



happy, merry


The room is growing cozy these days. And, nights.

home-brewed decorations

Here are a few snapshots to share the holiday pizazz with you.

home-brewed decorations

I hope the holidays and the days between are delighting you.

the painter's contribution

I'll return soon with a drink recipe for warmth and photos of the New Year's celebration.


Until then, happy, merry times to you.

the chalkboards


merry christmas

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

a sign of things to come

soon-to-be letters

The Bartender is a hands on kinda guy.


If he wants a boat, he buys the shell of a priceless vintage wooden boat and restores her to a lovely version of her former self. His adherence to the nuances of authenticity are admirable. His dedication to a decade-long project humbles me.

the work ahead

When he has a vision of the potential for a room, he tackles the space with his wits and bare hands as well. Our condo is a tribute to that.

letter making

And, now so is this bar.

he cut these letters. by hand.

I will say that I'm sorry for the confusion caused by the barfront remaining nameless since we opened.

the tools. the dust. the effort. the reward.

I promise you, however, all with be worth the wait.

clos"er" to bitt"er"

What can I say, he has a vision...

he's building our sign

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

first shift

the end of my very first shift

Last Sunday, The Bartender sprang my first bartending shift on me. He knew the best approach to get me back there. You know, the sneaky kind. Of the sort that doesn't allow me a single moment to mull over anything. To worry. He casually suggested I serve a beer. I obliged.

And, Snap! Just like that, I was behind the bar on a Sunday night. More folks arrived. More beers cracked open. Poured into pint glasses. A few shots. Anxious moments. Many questions. Happy exchanges. Sooner than expected, it was almost midnight and I wondered when I'd sleep before waking at 5:30 to drive back to the city. There's no time for pondering or complaining behind the bar, however. You must keep moving on. It's not about you. It's about all of them.

Yes, my feet were crammed into inappropriate urban-style shearling boots. My hair was tucked into a knit cap. A thick sweater warmed too much. Yes, as I had not prepared for this session of serving, I was not clad as I would have liked or would have felt more comfortable. The Bartender sympathetic but enjoying a shift off, suggested I step outside for a cool, rainy pause. That's what you have to do, babe. The shift continued.

I have bussed tables. I have waitressed. I have even poured pints o'plenty on many a slow Monday dayshift. Up until last weekend, I had not spent eight hours behind a bar. Pacing. Eyeing. Bored. Tuckered. Cranky. Smiling. Chatting. Serving and serving.

Don't for one second think that anyone can bartend. It just isn't true.

I never wanted to be one of those owners who doesn't know the business. Yet, here I am. In fairness, it is the business of which he's familiar. I want to know every facet as well. I hate being vulnerable behind the bar. Having more questions than answers. I am grasping at the comfort of knowing that we are learning the whole of this business, together.


See that lady above? She is learning lessons the hard way. Quick and dirty. That's just how this business is. She can pour a perfect Guinness, however. That she can do.

our new tower

Yes, it's here. Our new tower. Slinging drafts we will be. Ain't it pretty? Nautical, no?


Now, excuse me while I resume quizzing myself with basic change calculations.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


We are amid an adjustment period. For the sake of a dramaless post, I'm putting it mildly. Instead of recounting how rough the last two weeks have been, I want to share with you, patient readers, what gifts our friends have bestowed.


When the word got out- Wait a moment, I don't even think we uttered a request. More accurately, when our friends grew tired of the unclad walls of The Bitter End, they brought gifts.

the bar's borrowed clock

An antique clock salvaged from a father's closed printing shop.

so many gifts from the painter

Armfuls of framed works from The Painter. Seems he paid attention during all of those studio visits when we hinted at, not so discreetly, what art of his we favored.


Holiday flair warms the room all glittery and sweet from PerryA's careful attention.

drink list crafting

An espresso machine drips an amber nectar to encourage a new drink recipe (more on that in a later post).

With these gifts, they are making this bar their room too. I like that.