If writing this column has taught me anything thus far, it’s that even good bars have bad days. Last Call is not written anonymously, but I look like a typical thirtysomething woman who types on her phone frequently and won’t stand out. Having a slight cloak of invisibility provides a solid advantage on gauging the kind of experience a patron may expect when he or she slides onto that bar stool.
West 7th corridor newcomer Bar 2909 occupies the space on the opposite corner from Fred’s Texas Café. It’s a straight and open lot, with two bar areas to order drinks. On my initial visit, it was the first beautiful weather day of 2017. Therefore, every human in the tri-county area was scoping out patio space to work on their tan with a drink in their hand. It was fairly busy at 2:30pm, but my guest and I found a seat at the smaller, empty bar toward the front.
Maybe I’ve read too many books by FBI profilers discussing body language lately (three, don’t judge), but it is obvious that our bartender wanted no part of slinging drinks when we sat in front of her. Initial clues included angrily crossed arms and muttering under her breath at the bar back. But when she said, “What do you want?” to take our order, it prompted such shock I had to stifle a roar of laughter. I legitimately studied her face thinking she might have known my guests and me, but I don’t think she had any bias.
The menu listed Budweiser as a “craft brew” but I chose not to question it, lest it result in my body being dragged by our server onto Currie Street to be flattened by a tow truck. It was windy, and her tip money started to blow away out of the bucket. I chased it down, but this failed to curry even a “thanks.” We did not leave before seeing her beautiful smile, however. It was directed at a frat-boy, and had we chosen to stay, I might have been tempted to just have him order our drinks for us. Instead, I downed my overpriced Blue Moon, and we moved on to other local watering holes.
Truthfully, Bar 2909 shouldn’t be defined by one chick with a horrible attitude. During my second visit, the staff was friendly and cheerful. As an added bonus, the whole bar is pro-pooch, and there were lots of people lounging around with their dogs at picnic tables and chairs made out of recycled metal barrels. There were a few umbrellas out, but shade might be a premium come June.
For specialty-drink drinkers, I recommend the Charleston Bog, made with Bulleit Bourbon, fresh raspberry, mint, lime, simple syrup, and a splash of cranberry juice. The Cake by the Ocean martini is essentially an extra-large wedding cake shot, so avoid it unless you love intensely sweet drinks. But the real talk around the bar on that day was the Moscow Mega Mule. For $59, with four of your closest friends, you can down a concoction served in a 94-ounce copper mug. Since I was one half of a party of two, ordering that party ball of liquor was not an option for me, but I heard rumors it’s deliciously intoxicating.
I’ve been on both sides of the bar, working and imbibing, and I try very hard to give people the benefit of the doubt if the experience is poor on Round 1. This is especially true if the bar is newly opened and the staff perhaps not fully trained, as I expect was the case for my first visit. If time permits, I’ll go back again. Bar 2909 did trigger Operation: Double-Visit for Fairness, and I’m glad I returned to clear the air. Also, if I see my apparent nemesis behind the bar again, I’ll just sit anywhere out of her field of vision. Problem solved.