After leaving the 1981 Ramen Bar, our intrepid quartet debated going straight to the Keep (our featured attraction of the night), or making a quick stop at Warp and Weft, a recent addition to Lowell. After determining that we were in fact NOT complete
puss- …errr …. wimps, we made the quick stroll over and man, I’m glad we did.
We did the usual GET A SEAT AT THE BAR song and dance, which consists of these steps:
- Walk in and eye the bar for obvious openings … nope, not seeing it
- Greet / be greeted by the host/hostess who reflexively start maneuvering you to the high tops (clearly not recognizing you for the discriminating bar aficionado that you are).
- Pleasantly and plaintively ask “Hey, we’d actually like to sit at the bar if there are any open seats.” Of course you know from your eagle eye entrance that there aren’t any, but you’re hoping that the host/hostess will turn about to be a total saint and do one of the following:
- Exercise psychic powers of persuasion and silently compel exactly X number of patrons to leave in a timely fashion (X being the exact number of people in your party).
- Bend the laws of time and space and slide just enough people over to accommodate your party
- Monitor the bar situation like a hawk and immediately pounce on any openings that come up, eviscerate any others who try to take those seats, and guide you to your cherished bar stools BEFORE you’ve been served at your high top.
- Be somewhat disappointed that none of those saintly miracles occurred, but keep an eye out anyway
- … and if you’re with Lorri (who is like a Gold Medalist ninja Jedi Master guru of getting bar seats), see that 3 of the 4 necessary seats have opened up and go for it!
- Glare at patrons on either side of your party until the coveted 4th seat opens up. (OK, we didn’t really do that. We’re not MONSTERS.)
- Our serendipity game was so strong this night that Tom was out getting a smoke when we could only grab 3 of the 4 needed seats … and when he returned it was only a short wait before a seat opened up for him.
I knew “This Must Be The Place” when I saw the names of cocktails … all Talking Heads tunes (and somehow they resisted naming one after “Once In A Lifetime” (the most obvious and pompous choice) and went for an interior lyric instead, “Same As it Ever Was”.
Our server was … arrrgggh, I need to take better notes … Rachel (??) and the originator of this killer lineup. And as if that wasn’t enough to make us worship her, she also remarked that a slate of Prince-named cocktails was her next goal (Lorri have been mad Prince fans since the early 80’s, and once hopped on a place to London JUST to see Prince play the 02 Arena). I warned her that I’ve never had a good cocktail named “Purple Rain” (baaaaaad memories of an all inclusive resort in the Bahamas where the drinks were super strong and super awful) and she concurred, “I would NEVER name a drink Purple Rain”. Some songs are too sacred to get wasted to!
“Burning Down The House” might as well have been named “Stop Right Here, Lorri” because habanero + tequila/mezcal + aperol tick off all of her boxes. Chartreuse is getting thrown in a lot of drinks just to make them different, and frankly it works pretty well most of the time. This time it worked beautifully.
Tom and I both ordered the Tiki-esque “Same As It Ever Was”. As much as I love tiki, there’s definitely a kitchen-sink mentality to a lot of them where 10 ingredients all blend together to a pleasant but indistinctive flavor of … well, tiki. This drink smartly focused on the lemon-passionfruit combo and was so smashing I took three photos of it, resulting in THIS masterpiece:
Danna (of course being a down & brown heavyweight next to us tiki-guys) went for the “Stay Up Late”, with Rye, Carpano and artisanal coffee (SEE, I TOLD YOU this could have Portland!). Coffee is of course one of those bull-in-a-china-shop flavors and I have to say the only coffee cocktail I’ve loved and craved for after-the-fact is the Baldwin’s “Good Morning Vietnam”. Nonetheless, I was impressed by the Carpano/coffee interaction which brought out the best in both ingredients.
Danna pointed out the ceiling, where patrons are given a thumbtack. combine it with a quarter and somehow get a dollar to stick to one of the 2 x 8’s up there. Sounds like a good way to “make it rain”, albeit slowly … or get a
A BIG part of the fun for me when drinking with industry people is finding out how accurate the “Angry Bartender” reddit feed is (a GREAT source of literature when you want your faith in humanity destroyed on a daily basis).
Supposedly the thing bartenders hate more than anything else is being asked to charge patron’s phones, which I definitely can understand because phones + booze + electricity + drunken customer sounds like a recipe for needless drama. Personally, I don’t know why bars don’t just buy a bunch of these puppies and charge $10/each.
Surprisingly, Danna said that didn’t bother her (heh, well it didn’t until this blog post goes viral and her back bar starts looking like the killer squid from 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea), so I mentioned the #2 pet peeve: when the bartender says “Hi, how are you doing?” (or some similar decently human greeting) and gets an immediate order (“2 Bud Lights!”, “Vodka and Bull”, etc…) instead of a decent reply, like “Doing great, how are you?”.
Well, THAT hit the mark. Danna’s reply was essentially to the effect that if you don’t say Hi back to your bartender you’re human garbage and deserve a lifetime of bad margaritas made with neon green sour mix and less than 50% agave tequila (OK, I made that last part up).
Motto of the Story: Don’t treat your bartenders like they’re walking Alexas.
Couldn’t have been having a better time …. and the backing band was setting up for open mic night …. and I was eyeing another Talking Heads drink ….
RESIST! RESIST! Luckily the gravitational pull of our final destination (The Keep) pulled us out of Warp & Weft (otherwise, I may still be there, working my way through a Raspberry Beret, a Little Red Corvette and a few Erotic Cities!)
NOTE: Warp and weft are terms referring to yarn being woven into fabric, “warp” being the longitudinal thread, which I guess leaves “weft” being the latitudinal thread … and OMG, I’m sure that’s exactly the knowledge you were seeking when you clicked on this blog post. ANYWAY, the city of Lowell was a major force in the textile industry for several decades so this establishment’s name is almost certainly a nod to that history.