I had been asked to leave establishments for unbecoming conduct, but never for trying to cover a place for the paper. So I was surprised when that happened at Dirt Bar (222 Yale, 713-426-4222), where media types are apparently not welcome -- at least not while on the job. The bartender told me they consider DB more of a private club (as does TABC, I'm sure) and try to keep things low-key. We don't even have a sign, he explained. Well, neither does Lola's, and they don't cop an attitude about it. Of course, comparing those two is like putting an On the Border up against the best taqueria in town.
A little confused and too sober to deal with an Auto-Tuned version of a rock and roll bar, my buddy and I decided to explore the other end of the spectrum with some girly drinks at the Tavern on Gray (1340 W. Gray, 713-522-5152), which is the kind of place that will not let you in if you have knuckle tattoos, even if they say "JAGR BOMB." Bartender Cassie reluctantly suggested Bay Breezes; when a lady is embarrassed to make you a certain drink, you know you've chosen well. At 1 a.m. we were picking the cherries out of our pink cocktails and listening to a karaoke Bonnie Raitt. There's little chance the Tavern is going to make me love it anytime soon, but at least no one's putting on airs.
1 1/4 ounces vodka
1/4 ounce triple sec
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1 ounce pineapple juice
2 ounces cranberry juice
Pour ice and ingredients into a highball glass and stir. Garnish with a lime, orange wedge and maraschino cherries. Drink like a menopausal woman on a bender.