"I'm going to drink you out of house and home," I tell Matt LaBarge sometime between my second and third mimosa at Sputnik (3 South Broadway). LaBarge, a former kickball teammate and co-owner of both the hi-dive and Sputnik, has told me more than once that he loses his ass on the $5 bottomless mimosas offered during Weekend Hangover Brunch (every Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.). This morning, though, my taunting doesn't seem to worry him.
"Bring it on," he chortles back. "It's your headache."
The last time I drank champagne in any quantity was Halloween '05. Maggie and I were at some boutique hotel downtown for a heaven-and-hell party where drinks were eight bucks but special guests drank endless champagne free. I've long since forgotten who we knew and why they thought us so special, but we had the right color bracelet to get up to the champagne room (or floor, as it were), and I took full advantage -- tossing back whole glasses and asking for refills without ever leaving the line; falling into a table of empty flutes and scurrying away to a chorus of shattering glass; nearly passing out in the bathroom of someone's VIP room while sexy angels and top-hat-wearing pimps cut up lines on the sink outside the door. Minus the generally douchey crowd and a few 'roided-out elevator bouncers, the party was all right – even if it was responsible for the single worst hangover of my life.
But I refuse to let the bubbly make a sucker out of me twice. Which is why I'm stumbling around with water in one hand and a mimosa in the other, alternating sips with disciplined precision and never letting either hit "E." At first, I fancy myself a bit of a genius for this preemptive move — displaying both glasses for everyone to see and soliciting compliments on my cleverness — but after five or six mimosas and what seems like a dozen trips to the bathroom, I just feel like a dick.
I also feel drunk. Woozy, wobbly, sitting-by-myself-because-no-one-else-thinks-a-Sunday-morning-mimosa-marathon-is-a-good-idea drunk. Rob #3 (of d. biddle/Lion Sized) is spinning soul hits behind the DJ table, and Marc Hughes (aka DJ Postman and host of Triviatron 3000) is preparing comic-book-themed trivia questions and songs and soliciting donations for his biannual I Feel the Need...the Need to Read! comic-book drive. When I'm not in the bathroom or smoking out front, I talk with both of them.
The place is packed — every booth and bar stool occupied — and turnover is quick. Most people eat egg tacos or hangover scrambles, nurse Bloodys ($3 each during brunch) or espresso drinks, talk above the music. I just drink. By 2 p.m., I'm on mimosa number eight and carrying a shit-eating grin with me wherever I wander. On one trip to the bathroom, I rub shoulders with a nervous-eyed guy who, based on the fumes I walk into, is clearly responsible for the dripping-new "Secret Writers Society Shhhhhh!" tag in silver ink on the black wall above the toilet. At the bar, I wait patiently for refills and deflect advances from a middle-aged woman in a jean jacket. Outside, I sit on the bus bench and smoke. When I return to the back booth where I've left my stuff, both glasses have been topped off, which fills me with an overwhelming desire to hug an employee. Instead, I toss a few singles on the bar and air-cheer the nearest bartender.
When my ride shows up, just after 3 p.m., she finds me in surprisingly good shape. She drives me to Highlander Comix so I can buy twenty dollars' worth of half-off, kid-friendly comics for Marc's Feel the Need drive, then home so I can pass out. Considering the two or three bottles of champagne I've just put down, I half expect to sleep through the night, but I hardly even nap, waking after less than an hour to make dinner and do some shit around the house. Then, around 7:30 p.m., we return to the bar for Triviatron, where I eat a basket of South Broadway's best sweet-potato fries and slug down a few pints of Guinness. "Didn't expect to see you again," Marc says as I hand him my donation. "Guess the water worked, huh?" Damn right.
Take that, champagne.
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