… and that’s when Xandl, Lydia and myself thought: why not go and have a nightcup, a cocktail somewhere close by, nothing out of the ordinary. The closest bar that evening happened to be Bryk Bar, a place I had been to twice: decent, but as requested nothing out of the ordinary. Enter the three of us. Seated and supplied with a small glass of water each we’re being served the more than mediocre salty snack (popcorn, good heavens!) and handed over the menu. Cocktails are ordered and take a long time to be served, which we are indifferent about, since the conversation is uplifting and the mood is summery. Cocktails are finally being served and the evening flows on, until at some point Xandl and I start to feel the emptiness in our water glasses. Since the sideboard just next to us hosts a large quantity of glasses already filled with tap water, we think no evil thoughts and serve ourselves. Suffice it to say that in Sweden for example, ANY sub-standard coffee shop has a table with tap water for anyone to serve themselves. High-end cocktail bars see it as a matter of course that their customers’ water glasses are never empty. Our lofty summer mood was in no way deteriorated until that point, we overlook such negligence with an air of aristocratic nonchalence native to well-traveled, grown-up citizens of Earth. After a prolonged period of time: arrival of Mademoiselle la Serveuse with her water jug. “What do I see? Why are there more water glasses?” She sharply looks at us, then to the sideboard, then back to us. Xandl, Lydia and I exchange glances of amazement without having any suitable answer … it is a situation to burst into hours of laughter, which turns into the epitome of grotesqueness as she adds without awaiting a reply from our part: “We have no self-service here. I’ll bring you the bill!” Bitte lachen Sie: jetzt! And there she goes and fetches the bill. Which we pay with an air of … etcetera, etcetera. What shall I say other than: there is a first time for everything. Being kicked out of a cocktail bar. Not in my wildest dreams. Because, believe me: we ARE the customers you really want as a bar. Not only because we have spent more money in 25 years in cocktail bars than other people have paid taxes all their lives, no, also and mainly because we are the most civilized and well behaved of drinkers! Bars from Tokyo, Melbourne, all over Europe to NYC will be able to testify and confirm. How the poor people of Bryk Bar were able to fail to see that we’ll never know, because of the obviousness for their having been erased from our mental drinks-landscape.
The story continues.
As Xandl&Lydia were headed for their hotel, I had the pleasure to bike to Kreuzberg, to Mister-Mister Johansson. Since the evening was fairly young and we are fairly old, I proposed to wash away the bitterness of recent events with a glass at the most formidable of bars in Berlin: Thelonious Bar. As we arrive we are greeted by the barkeeper, hands are shaken, drinks are stirred, the water glasses are never empty. The proprietor appears at some point and offers a round of sophisticated shots on the house, the barkeeper makes us try his latest addition to the rhum selection – bref: une soirée comme elle se doit! As we are about to head home, the proprietor hugs us on our way out! Round of smiles for everyone.
When does one ever get to experience the worst and the best of anything within two hours? Seldom. But that evening, I did. You lovely people of Thelonious Bar, I drink to your health and long life – à la votre! Good night, and good luck.