Guilty Pleasure

Bored with my usual hangouts, I pulled up a barstool at Marfreless (2006 Peden, 713-528-0083) and asked for something peculiar. The barman offered me a Pimm's Cup, a slightly bitter gin cocktail that had only one thing going for it: a cucumber slice. More interesting were the slightly embarrassed twosomes and threesomes who were coming through the front door, quickly scanning the room for prying eyes and then disappearing upstairs. Otherwise known as "the makeout bar," Marfreless is the kind of place that comes to mind when you're hanging out with your best friend's girlfriend. There's not a couple in the place who doesn't have guilt written across their foreheads. You'd have to be Columbo to stumble onto the unmarked door of this windowless nightspot if you didn't already know where to look. The second story is furnished almost entirely with couches, and the place is so dark the waitresses need flashlights to write down drink orders. As for the condition of those couches, consider it the price you have to pay for a little public privacy.

Marfreless's Pimm's Cup:

1 1/2 jiggers Pimm's No. 1
1/2 jigger Potter's gin
3 ounces sour mix
Splash soda water
Cucumber slice
Orange triangle

Pour liquid ingredients in shaker glass filled with ice. Shake and pour into Tom Collins glass. Garnish with cucumber and orange.

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