Photo by Susie Geissler.

If I had a dime each time a local food and beverage industry person asked the particularly thorny query, “Why don’t you cover my place in your column?,” I could pony up for all my bar tabs. The most obvious answer is that Last Call doesn’t give bar businesses publicity on command, but given that I’m the responsible party for what does happen in here, it seemed high time to round up some honest retorts to an awkward question. 

You’re the new kid on the block: Generally, the first few weeks of operations are messy, so I try to visit after the newly varnished wood smell has worn off. New employees and clamoring customers are stressful even for a seasoned staff, but if I may slide a personal pet peeve in here, no one is fooled by the mattress-store ploy of soft opening, pre-opening, quasi-opening, and grand opening. If the general public can belly up to the bar and pay for cocktails, the joint is just plain ol’ open and ripe for the write-up.

You’re the Betty White of the block: If my fine Last Call-penning predecessors already declared this gin joint a shining gem, all you have to do is stay golden, girls.

Rusty Nickel - Revised Web Ad (300 × 250 px)

I don’t know you exist: An air of mystery is super-sexy in budding relationships and murder for a bar or restaurant. Like the carpet-bombing approach of an online dating fortysomething divorced dad, use every tool to let all of us in the cocktail-loving community know you’re wide open for Negroni and chill. Also, I publish my email at the bottom of every column, so …

Someone working there is an asshole or your product sucks: I speed-date booze halls by the hundreds per year to put out a weekly column, so if I have a terrible time, I may revisit at some point, but more likely I toss the experience onto the burn pile. Occasionally, a situation is so bad, it bears mentioning, but I usually try to direct readers to better places than the home of a surly bartender or $10 hooch that tastes like Pine Sol and gym socks. 

The establishment has a history of discriminatory practices based on gender, race, religion, or age for anyone not young and pretty: I don’t care if you are opening a transubstantiation-themed bar catering to Catholic priests. Unless every community member has the equal opportunity to spend his or her drinking dollars on communion wine, wafers, and bottles of whisky secreted behind bookcases, don’t expect me to spread the good news. 

It’s not you, it’s me: If my internal monologue had a voice, it often would be Madeline Kahn’s in Blazing Saddles when she’s singing about “going and coming and coming and going” in the song “I’m Tired.” Maybe everything on my visit was perfectly fine but unmemorable. At this point, I’ve tossed back so many average Old Fashioneds it feels like they are dripping out my drooping eyeballs. Only the surprising or even shocking riffs may rouse me from apathy. 

Lastly, I’ve heard some amusing conspiracy theories not included in this list. Usually, those include my gender, assumptions that I hate fun, or that I’m just a jerk. The most far-flung idea is because the Weekly tells me to give a tongue bath to a business only if they advertise with us.

While I cannot dispute that I’m a woman, maybe a hater of certain kinds of fun, and definitely a jerk, the Weekly management does not determine what goes into this column. Last Call is all me, baby, until death by mediocre Old Fashioneds do us part. 


    • If I die soon I’m leaving an endowment to eliminate that word and “foodie” from the vernacular. Heads up: You just became the executor of this wholly unreasonable task.

  1. Did you know that “attacky” is actually a title of a minor bureaucrat in the Ottoman Empire? I believe they were responsible for administering the salt tax or something like that. They were widely disliked. The word came into the English language once the British had conquered Egypt. The fellaheen were so relieved not to have to pay the salt tax, but were enraged (as a population) when the British in fact levied a whole different round of taxes on the Egyptians. Empire, same as it ever was.