Mistress of the MUST

When I’m not holed up in my loft, battering the keyboard of my Macbook like a diligent young writer, you can usually find me at my local haunt. Sometimes with a glass of wine, sometimes with a fluffernutter sandwich.

My neighborhood bar downtown happens to be the Must. Which is a more successful resident of the space previously known as…whatever good intentioned restaurant venture failed before it. I can’t remember the name, sorry. I heard they served Americanized tacos?? I can’t imagine why they closed…

Anyway, the Must opened its doors and is here to stay. This is why I think so:

They have a secret art gallery corridor behind the main dining room that features local talent. The wide range of food, beer, and wine selections bear the marks of a selective palate. Humboldt Fog grilled cheese sandwiches, gourmet grilled chicken sliders, steak frites, best beer pretzels I’ve ever had—all waiting to be paired with an extensive and often changing menu of worldly beers and wines.

And last but not least, they have wallpaper with cheerleaders in suggestive pin-up poses riding hot dogs, in the bathroom.

The only addition that could make the place any more compelling to hang out in on a nightly basis might be ‘live nude girls’. (Though…if you’re there on Tuesdays, without your girlfriend presumably, you might find something cute and entertaining to hook up with for the evening.)

Saturday night Stan told me he was meeting up with his friend Barrett at the Must for drinks before the comedy club show that was happening next door that night, and would I like to join them?

Mind you, I was still recovering from a near fatal gunshot wound from our adventures in Swine Flu ridden Mexico. But it’s the Must! So, I must, I must!

I grabbed Sarafina, the empress of espresso currently reigning over GroundWork coffee on 2nd and Main, and we headed over to my very own neighborhood bar. That evening, the Must was pleasingly dark, the vibe was good, and our favorite nice flirty waiter was there. We immediately started raising hell.

I proceeded to exasperate the wait staff by switching tables three times and ordering all our food and drinks in stages. We avoided the General Tso Fu, which is frankly the only thing on the menu I don’t like, and opted for our favorites: the chicken sliders with swiss, a grilled cheese with cheddar and goat, the bite sized shrimp and grits, a strawberry and manchego salad, and two pints of Hefeweizen. I had to flag our wayward entrees down, as busboys with confused looks on their faces wandered through the dining room. It was good fun.

Stan sauntered a little after 8, all dressed in black. He made a thorough survey of the perimeters, sat down and ordered….(wait for it)…a Framboise. I politely sampled the sweet, grape juice colored beverage, while rolling my eyes at him.

“Leave the real drinking to the women, please,” Sarafina told him.

Barrett Morse showed up a little bit later, and told us about his Music Union venture, which sounded pretty interesting. He described it as a collective of cross-industry professionals dedicated to creating opportunity for musicians in a new economy. Barrett shared Stan’s pint of Framboise. Neither of them were hungry because they ate a cholent for lunch at Rabbi Moshe’s (Downtown Chabad). They proceeded to describe some meat, bean, potato, and barley stew concoction that sounded delicious enough to consider converting to Judaism just to get some.

The evening was going smoothly, except that I was having some sort of leg drama and accidentally nailed Stan with my stilettos twice under the table. He informed me that if my foot really needed that much action, his girlfriend Kasey wouldn’t be showing up for another twenty minutes.

Funny guy, that Stan.

We chatted about the musician, artist, and writer mixer that Barrett was throwing at the Must this coming Thursday night. I told him I would love to attend. We were having a nice professional, semi serious discussion. My feet were finally under control. The only problem this time was — I couldn’t stop staring at Sarafina’s tits.

Was it her bra? Was it the shirt? I have no idea. I am a woman, dammit. I never mastered the art of the sideways glance! It’s not like they teach this stuff in school. Her ‘ladies’ were almost more mesmerizing than the ketchup bottle brandishing honeys on the wallpaper in the bathroom.

I got so busted.

Fina finally turned to me at one point and hissed, “Stop staring at my tits, Shannon.” The entire bar stopped. Turns out that Sarafina has an incredibly effective stage whisper. Stan gave us a look like a principal that just spotted two rowdy kids horsing around in the back of the assembly.

For the record, I feel that Sarafina started it. But I promised that I’d behave. If Sarafina would only stop resting the damn things on the table…

So we had our running joke for the evening, which was fine with me. It was a good warm up for the comedy routines that soon followed. Which by the way, I didn’t like that much and had nothing nice to say about—but Stan liked. And that’s why I’m writing about my all time favorite neighborhood bar the Must, instead of the comedy show.


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