The Sidebar at Gravitas (807 Taft, 713-522-0995) sounds like a tiny area where you can stand next to the hostess and have a cocktail while you wait for a table. But when I walk through the sleek glass doorway that separates Sidebar from the rest of Gravitas, the compact bar quickly becomes its own entity. There's a DJ, lounge furniture and a crowded L-shaped bar with two bustling bartenders and an impressive array of bottled spirits. Making my way to the bar, I see a blonde girl almost poke her eye out running into a pointy sculpture hanging on the wall. Damn, what is she drinking? A hungry-looking couple files out behind the hostess, and I sink into their barstool to order an Orange Crush, one of the many specialty drinks listed on the menu, which is encased in funky glass jar. A young fellow named Ricky delivers a bright-orange martini sparkling with mood-altering possibility. In the Sidebar's club-like atmosphere, I've forgotten the restaurant on the other side of the building until I see a waiter deliver a plate of chili-cheese fries to a group of chain-smoking ladies who are reapplying lipstick between cigarettes. After my first Crush, the urge to mingle levitates me out of my seat. After my second, so smooth and easy to drink, I decide I better get to the next bar before I keep ordering more. Mmmm, more.
2 1/2 ounces Grey Goose L' Orange
1/2 ounce Fruja mango liqueur
The Sidebar at Gravitas
1 ounce fresh orange juice
Shake ingredients in a shaker filled with ice. Now shake it some more, then just a little more. Strain into a martini glass and garnish with a cherry. Levitate.
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