Gin Romeo


3 pm is an excellent time for drinking. At least, that's what I've convinced myself. And, of course, I'm right.

I walk through the pub's doors and the light tinkling of a bell attracts the attention of no one. The bar's empty, with the exception of the guy behind the bar and a girl wiping down tables near the back. I take the very first seat at the bar, right at the lip of the curve that runs into the wall. My back's to the door, but a few feet behind me, there's a table set up right underneath the big window, just inside the corner nook. If it weren't a table meant for four, I'd probably move there after I ordered my drink. If it were a table meant for two, I'd sit.

The bartender, the guy, is on the other side of the bar, so I sit patiently, looking at the bottles against the mirrored wall until I can catch his eye.

It doesn't take long. He almost looks surprise to see me.

"Hello. Are you taking orders yet?"

He gives me a look and then a polite smile. "First customer of the day," he says to me, "What'll it be?"

"Gin sour, please." It sounds like a decent drink; just lemon juice, simple syrup, and gin. I researched it on my laptop before I left my apartment.

He gives me a nod and starts mixing. Before long, he sets it on the bar in front of me. "Three bucks."

I guess I must look confused because he elaborates. "Happy hours officially at 5 but that's only 'cause no one usually comes in here this early."

I pull a five out of my purse and hand it to him, "Thanks." When he moves to pull change out the register, I shake my head and put my hand up to stop him. "It's fine."

I pull the glass closer to me and take a sip. It's perfect. Refreshing but boozy. Bonus points for coming in a short, sturdy cylindrical glass, rather than something more indulgent. The glass is heavy and flaunts multiple little cross-hatching scratches. There's a maraschino cherry and lemon wedge floating at the top.