BAR BELLE: Drinking in style

ZANZIBAR
Where: 700 Water St., SW
Getting in: Don’t even try, unless you’re a professor
Cover: Need connections and an invite
Dress: To impress

“Don’t they know they’re not gonna have to park it, it’s a cab?” I thought as three valets came over and opened my taxi door. When they assisted me out and directed my escort and me to the to VIP tunnel, I decided it was best just to play along for the rest of the night.
The invitations to the congressman’s party said “Skybox.” We flashed them at the bouncer and headed toward the elevator. I had been to VIP rooms before, this was no big deal, I thought.

But the elevator opened to a different world. The couches were plush and inviting, the aqua bar top was lit from underneath, casting a perfect glow on the Hennessy and Belvedere that sat on top of it. Scattered buckets of champagne were chilling on glass tables. Televisions showed Janet Jackson live in concert and that movie with Eddie Murphy and Richard Pryor.

The matron in the bathroom dried my hands for me, then gave me a breath mint. I stepped out onto the rooftop terrace and took in the waterfront view. Nelly was rapping in the background, the breeze was blowing from the east and my Heineken was perfectly chilled. I have never felt more at home.

The drinks were pricey but on my night of suspended reality, money was no object. Luckily with the Long Island iced teas they make, there’s hardly a need for frequent refills. She didn’t stop pouring the Tangueray until the glass was full. By the time she added the Coke, there was only room for a bubble.

After some schmoozing with the congressman and his chief of staff in the VIP room of the VIP room, my intern friend and I headed to the dance floor. For once my brain cells weren’t deadened by alcohol and I was free to take in my surroundings. I realized a few things. One – drunk people are very funny. Two – old drunk people are even funnier. Three – old drunk people in formalwear are the funniest (is that what I look like every other night?).

The night wound down and we stepped off the elevator toward the brigade of limos waiting our arrival. I stood by the door of the shiny gray one and waited for the chauffeur to open it. But his sharp “eh hem” and nod toward the taxis snapped me out of my fantasy world. I frowned, thinking how long it would be before I would play grown-up again. But at least now I have something to look forward to.

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