By Jamie Swinnerton
By Mark Antonation
By Lori Midson
By Jonathan Shikes
By Amber Taufen
By Cafe Society
By Juliet Wittman
By Jonathan Shikes
We here at the Institute of Drinking Studies have determined that good bars are more a state of mind than a physical place. Good bars share similar attributes: not just plentiful booze, but an atmosphere that suits your mood and purpose on a particular night. If you're looking for serious talk, you need a spot that's relatively quiet but has TVs and attractive people to help stimulate conversation during uncomfortable pauses. When you're looking for more casual contact, you need a mass of humanity to help mask the inappropriate comments you make as you notice those attractive people who stimulate conversation during uncomfortable pauses. Given the right mood and booze supply, just about any place can be a good bar -- your couch, a sports bar, a dance club, a wedding reception, or even the sacristy of the church before the wedding if the best man had the foresight to sneak in a stocked cooler.
We put this theory to the test when we took the visiting Head of Drinking Regrets to one of his favorite eateries, Emma's(603 East Sixth Avenue), to prepare him for a new job. Walking in, I had serious doubts that we belonged there. Emma's was small, quaint, romantic and quiet. As the Head of Instant Drunks noted, the bathrooms, which feature free Listerine, were nicer than our own homes. And the menu was almost too much for people who are usually satisfied with fried mozzarella and Happy Meals. The Jewish Representative thought he might like to try the Lebanese chicken, but figured it wouldn't agree with his stomach. The announcement of that night's special, duck breast, didn't raise a single snicker. Emma's was that nice.
But all of our concerns about whether we'd be comfortable at Emma's -- and whether Emma's would be comfortable with us -- were allayed by the first round of drinks. My bourbon and Coke was superb. "Now, that's a good pour!" the Head of Instant Drunks remarked after sampling his Greyhound. The drinks were so tasty and powerful that they drove any thought of asking for a pitcher of beer (not that this place would ever serve beer in pitchers) out of our heads, and replaced that thought with fears that our typical post-excellent-drink behavior might get us tossed out before our food arrived. But miraculously, our waiter continued to bring us drinks despite our increasingly inappropriate conversation.
The world -- and women in particular -- often wonders why guys never discuss their feelings. That's explained by another Institute of Drinking Studies Nobel Prize-worthy finding: Guys don't evaluate, show or endlessly discuss their feelings with anyone -- especially other guys -- because guys are mean. This was evidenced during a recent philosophical discussion when the Head of Drinking Regrets suggested I might need a prescription for Valtrex -- implying that I had contracted a social disease. "Yeah," I countered, "but how is that Cialis working out for you?" At Emma's, though, the vibe was so civilized, it brought us to an artificial maturity that allowed us to truly examine our feelings for all of fifteen minutes -- to the point that our dinner resembled an episode of The View, according to the Jewish Representative.
In retrospect, I admit that I'm a little embarrassed by our good behavior; we're much better equipped to deal with the repercussions of alcohol-induced mania than to wait for the day when some actual feelings revealed in a bar will be used against us in the heat of battle. Regardless, we highly recommend Emma's, both as a date place (the Head of Drinking Regrets assures us he's always regretted something with someone the morning after dinner here) and as somewhere to get in touch with your inner feelings. If you have any.