They say that whiskey is an acquired taste. But I’ve always felt that it’s one liquor that goes down a little smoother than the rest.
That unique blend. That subtle aftertaste. The slight burn at the back of your throat, potent just enough to force you to savor every sip. After all, a perfect whiskey is one of the few pleasures of life.
Tonight it tastes the same as it does every other night. But my company has changed…
Work colleagues have joined me. After a little wait, we are quickly seated and orders for food are placed. We begin dissecting the acoustic gig we just visited. Favorite moments from the set list are recounted. Drinks are refilled. Funny stories are exchanged. Our group slowly grows larger as new friends walk in. Friends of friends join us until we’re three tables pushed together. Introductions are distractedly made as more orders rattled off to the harried waiter. Various conversations run rampant around the table as the night progresses…
The bar we go to today is different. It’s a little rowdier and more laid-back from the ones we normally frequent but still just as cozy. My boss is springing for the tab and I can see nothing but relaxed, cheerful faces around the table. As we trade gossip and office stories, I savor my surroundings, slowly sipping my drink.
Conversations spring up around the table. Several people vanish for smoke breaks. Another round is called for. Someone scores a delightful goal on the large screen across the room. Our usual appetizers are brought out and polished off in a wink. Seats are switched and conversations overlap and meld into one another. The night progresses and my glass is refilled. Voices blend into a happy hum as I savor each sip…
We’re celebrating a successful pitch tonight! The usual suspects form my company tonight. Drink orders are called out the moment we enter. It’s one of our familiar haunts and we stand around, jostling for prime space at the bar. Drinks are served and the entire team gathers round for the classic toast. Memories of the pitch meeting are recounted in glorious, exaggerated detail.
A friend of a friend joins our cozy group. The house music is loud and thumping, setting the perfect score to our rambling conversations. From office politics to life advice to music preferences to menu scuffles, our group gets louder and louder, talking over each other. A second round is called for and we magically manage to snag a table. As the evening goes on, the music gets louder. So does the conversation. Several hours later, the night ends in a cacophony of drunken goodbyes.
A new haunt tonight. A hipper, upscale version of the places we usually frequent. The ambiance is nice. Clean, uncluttered decor with a well-polished wooden bar holding court in the center of the room. Drink orders are placed. The bartenders seem more attentive tonight. We score prime seats right at the bar itself, giving us perfect vantage to scope out the crowd and enjoy the gig we’re here for. Our drinks arrive and we make small talk. The conversation seems a little stilted at first and revolves mostly around the artist we’re here to see.
A few more friends drop by. Introductions are quickly made and the night carries on. Drink orders are called out once again, just before the artist and his band takes the stage. Songs begin to blend into each other. The crowd gets into the groove of the music, calling out their favorite numbers and crowding the front of the stage. Drinks are refilled and the artist looks like he’s having a blast up on stage. More friends drop by, others leave and the night melds into the music.
We’re back at a familiar haunt, scoping out the place after it underwent a brand new renovation. Stoked to see the prices haven’t changed much, we order our drinks and settle in. Old school music that we grew up to blares from the speakers. The perfect soundtrack for tonight’s agenda. We’re here to celebrate my friend’s birthday in proper style. Enjoying the atmosphere, I polish off my drink as we wait for the rest of our companions to join us.
Food is called for and we bop our heads in rhythm to the classic tunes, fondly remembering a simpler time. Our friends join us and we level up on office gossip as another round is called for. Menu options are discussed and discarded basis the veg/non-veg ratio of the table. The birthday girl throws in her few cents, asking us all to go veg in spirit of the night. Some people cave, some don’t. As the night progresses, the conversation flows faster, the jokes funnier and the mood is visibly buoyant. A very interesting version of ‘Would You Rather’ is kicked off. Answers are punctuated with crazy stories and more liquor is called for. The night ends in a mandatory round of birthday shots and a very happy birthday girl.
Another bar. Another night. But that’s a story for another time…
*Inspired by a Writing 101 prompt.