Waiting around at Poison Girl (1641 Westheimer, 713-527-9929) for my friend Dusty, I finally get a call around midnight. Turns out the birthday girl and her friends are still dancing at Numbers, rocking out to Depeche Mode and getting hit on by a guy with a whip. Though they claim to be leaving, I hear the birthday girl indignantly dragging ass in the background: "Hold on, Melissa, I'm putting bacon in my hair." I decide it might be a while. I make a pit stop at Point Percy and, while dutifully making space for more liquor, overhear two perfect strangers talking about hidden meaning in Jim Henson's The Dark Crystal. Back at the bar, I ask Robin for a drink recommendation. The quiet charmer takes a minute to think, giving me a chance to notice her shoulder-to-shoulder art and cherry-red Mary Janes. While refilling my complimentary bowl of Goldfish, she personifies the bar's unapologetic simplicity. "We're just not the kind of place that serves drinks with parasols," she says. Jonas and Eric eventually suggest The Jones, a duo of bourbon and ginger beer that, quite fittingly, is found at the Dunlavy Fiesta. After a quick handful of the snack that smiles back, I'm facing a to-the-brim, no frills pint glass...with an umbrella garnish. Guess Robin dug one out from behind the bar. Sweet on the tongue, intensely spicy in the throat you won't even notice the pack that you'll undoubtedly (secondhand) smoke.
2 ounces Jim Beam bourbon
Goya's Jamaican ginger beer
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Fill a pint glass with ice, pour in bourbon, fill with ginger beer and serve to your late-ass friends.