Monday, July 02, 2007

ALA Martinis

I was so exhausted from ALA, I took yet more time to goof off. I love summertime! Well, except for the heat and the sun and having to show up to work and stuff like that.

Later in the week I might give a prize for stupidest ALA program title, as I did for ACRL. It'll be a tough call, but I noticed one of them had a similar nautical theme as the ACRL titles, so it's already looking like a strong contender.

For now, important stuff - martinis. There are some places I feel most at home, besides, of course, my own home. Research libraries, used bookstores, coffeehouses, and hotel bars top my list of favorite places, if they're good of their kind. I didn't drink much coffee, and didn't set foot in a library or bookstore in DC, but I did hit a few hotel bars. Here's what I found.

A reader posted a comment before I left suggesting some places to drink, and I got to try one of them. Taking the reader's suggestion, I headed Friday afternoon for Poste, in the Hotel Monaco. The martinis were excellent! They were big, but very cold. These bartenders knew what they were about, that's for sure. They did have the gigantic olives in them, but as I hadn't had much lunch they were appreciated. As Johnny Carson said, happiness is finding two olives in your martini when you're hungry. If you finish off 2-3 of those olives with each martini, I think you can skip dinner. In fact, I think I did skip dinner, but I just don't remember.

Saturday I spent the hour at the Sky Terrace Lounge on the roof of the Hotel Washington. Great view of the White House and the Washington Monument, if you get excited by those sorts of things. A bit too sunny for me, and the martinis were definitely mediocre.

Sunday, I almost went back because a friend of mine likes the view, and I figured I could try a different drink, but we got there and it was just too darned hot and crowded. So we went next door to the bar at the Willard. Very nice. Great bar. The martini was very drinkable.
Great hallway with comfy seats. I liked it so much I went back the next night for a post-prandial cocktail.

Monday, I tried the Butler's Martini Lounge in the Hyatt. It doesn't open until 5pm unfortunately, but I was there at opening. The atmosphere is great, the seats are comfy. I had a small argument with the bartender over the meaning of "dry" in a "dry martini," but nevertheless the martini was acceptable, and I'd go back. I just wouldn't order my martini dry.

So the martini ranking?

1. Poste
2. Butler's Martini Lounge
3. Willard
4. Sky Terrace

But if you're in the market for good martinis, just go to Poste and and Butler's and skip the others.

As for food, I can't remember any names of any restaurants. Perhaps my cocktail hours lasted longer than they should have. Isn't that always the way when you're with old friends. I know I had some tapas, and some Indian food, and some kind of Caribbean thing, and some seafood. They were all fine, though nothing struck me as especially notable. The cuttlefish tapas was rather tasty, though.

So another ALA has come and gone, and I drank and ate a lot on the library's dime as I visited with old friends. Someone commented asking why I bother to go to ALA at all. Well, that's the reason, baby!


tanner said...

I enjoyed some very nice food at ALA receptions along with some good wine. I'm guessing that if you were at the bar at the Hyatt on Monday (I was staying there but never made it to the bar), then you weren't at the LC reception. (And LC was the only library I entered while there-- and only for the reception!)
I was at a reception at the Old Ebbitt Grill on Friday with an open bar. I ordered a dry vodka martini (sorry) with an olive. "$9.50," said the bartender. "In that case, I'll have a glass of the Sauvignon," I replied. So much for "open bar."

brian said...

I really enjoyed The Brick Skeller, best place for trappist beer in the city.

Next time ALA is there, that's the place to be!

fauxpas said...

AL, glad you are back. Can't wait for your ALA report.

Brent said...

A "Cat and Girl" comic strip a while back said the Internet is a drunken librarian. Drinking sounds like a great way to do professional development. You are my mentor.

Anonymous said...

welcome back AL!

I found something interesting and was wondering if you could comment on this subject (if not slready?)


A Librarian Grows in Brooklyn said...

Reading this post made me thirsty.
The library I work for is too damn cheap to sponsor ALA conference attendance so I have yet to enjoy a library-sponsored happy hour...Alas...
By the way, I'm a new reader...converted by your critique of the god-awful hipster librarians piece in the Times...Keep up the good snarking!

-A Brooklyn Librarian