“Know how to make a red-eye young Flannigan?” Doug, Cocktail.
Bobby’s seventies party pad, Bobby Fitzpatrick to be exact, up West Hampstead, has an upright piano stashed in the narrow corridor that’s bookended by two drinking quarters. You can picture the wallpaper if you’ve ever seen an episode of Minder, Only Fools and Horses or have a relative that lived through the war. I pass a blonde in a two-piece Prince of Wales tweed suit and approach the neon lit bar that blew out muted streaks of plum and violet hues onto the floor.
A guy in front of me, early twenties, with figure hugging jeans and sausage thighs busies himself attempting to get a flat-lay shot of his Alison Mahoney (Havana 3, spices, lime, ginger syrup) on the bar. I wait. He shows his initial attempt to a small girl next to him. They confer, he brings her glass of Sour Fritz (Bobby’s falernum, lime, egg white) in closer to his and he goes for a reshoot. I wait. More conferring. This time on which filter to use before posting to his social. I wait.
I turned to the piano, apocryphally watching myself play it like Dudley Moore amidst a semi circle of inebriated hipsters egging me on. My mind rolodexes through the 70’s tunes in my arsenal should the rum get the better of me. Tiny Dancer, Elton John, Nobody Does It Better – Carly Simon.
I turn back to the bar. Now it’s the girls turn to arrange the drinks for a shot on her phone. Only she’s not tall enough to get a flat-lay so she hands the phone to sausage thighs who proceeds to take it for her. I wait. They confer. The small girl shakes her head and orders sausage thighs to take another shot as she rearranges the glasses an inch here, an inch there. The Bee Gees, I Started a Joke plays on the stereo. I must have exclaimed audibly because a young girl with darkish hair and translucent skin leans in, “You like this song? I love this song.”
“Yes I love this song,” I shout back. “The Bee Gees are the quintessential 70’s band, although this was released in ’68. But hell, I’m not going to pull them up on a technicality, you want a drink?”
“Sure,” she replies plaintively.
I turn back to the bar, the small girl and sausage thighs have now introduced the punch bowl into the shot. The small girl tousles a couple of cocktail umbrellas next to the drinks, which must be about 5 minutes old and unmolested. I lean in, not waiting any longer.
“Guys, it’s. a. fucking. bar. yeah?”
They abandon their props and head for the chaise longue near the fireplace, which randomly, has a typewriter in. I order a couple of Presidents (Havana 7, Cocchi Americano, triple sec, pomegranate syrup). The dark haired girl had left, so I drank both. Glutinously.
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