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Elixirs on the bar at Santina.

Elixirs on the bar at Santina.


I went out with two friends for a schmooz and a cocktail after work last Thursday. We met at one of the latest of the super hip joints that is contributing to the transformation of what was once a district devoted to raw meat and butchers to one that is still devoted to raw meat- just the classier type of beautiful men and women all perfectly manicured and decked to charm and slay.

We were lucky because having scored corner seats at the bar, we were impervious to the continuous jostle of bodies seeking position. We had a round of drinks and I was in the mood for a glass of a dry white wine.

I looked up to beckon the bartender and saw that he was just finishing with a customer, and as he turned in my direction he started a conversation with his co-worker bartender. They chatted, and when he again looked at me I hand-signaled to please come here. He sauntered over, stared me in the eyes and said

Do Not Wave At Me!

I smiled at the brilliant absurdity. Here I was asking for a drink from a bartender and I was being reprimanded because I “asked” with my hands. So it was logical to inquire what was the proper protocol in a situation like this. The mighty Oz speaketh:

You should say “Excuse me”, and when I have a minute I will come and attend to you.

Here lies the lesson: the privilege of paying $14 for a mini-pour does not guarantee the privilege of actually being a guest of the bar. And to think the only rule I learned was never throw an olive at a bartender’s head.

As yet, it remains possible to find down-to-earth bars scattered throughout the city, but with Manhattan’s ever evolving spin into a glass dome for the super rich, I do not know how long that will hold true.