Wednesday, September 14, 2011

25. Big Ass Fruity Drinks

It was a dark dreary Tuesday night, and the fog loomed heavily over the San Francisco skyline. It was a balmy -20 degrees outside and the evening called for cocktails.

My friend James was celebrating his long overdue 29th birthday at a place called Smuggler's Cove near the Civic Center. Being up north for work, I was flown up and without wheels. So I donned my heaviest coat, harnessed in my ipod, packed a sandwich baggie full of cashews and walked miserably towards the nearest bus stop.

The Ipod and cashews proved to be a great idea, as they provided two barriers to social interaction with others. I'm a pretty social person, but the people you encounter walking through the civic center post-11pm are not the type of thespians who you'd want to discuss Yeats with. If a drunken derelict decides to brazenly inform me through alcohol swigs that I'm a "Honky devil fucking fuck you bitch cocksucker" I can politely reply "Sorry, listening to this Ipod" or "Sorry, eating these cashews," and proceed on my merry way.

Anyway, I digress. I got to Smuggler's Cove with minimal altercation and met up with the crew. Smuggler's Cove walks a fine line between hokey and campy. When you make the decision to build a Pirate Bar, you go beyond the notion of thinking Pirates are "Kinda cool." You've now entered a very dangerous place of staking your financial livelihood that Pirates are not the next stupid fad. Maybe a Transformers bar would be better.

One thing the Cove does well, regardless of decor, is their cocktails. While expensive, they are stacked to the rafters with alcohol. I mistakenly began my evening with a double vodka with soda and lime. A frustrating $16 later I had my drink and returned to our table. What did I find there, but a hilarious massive punch bowl with massive straws that everyone was collectively sharing. I immediately felt ostracized and cursed myself for buying an individually sized drink on such a social occasion. I was then informed of the existence of a 7+ page menu of specialty cocktails which made me feel even more stupid.

When round 2 came around I offered to buy the next cocktail bowl. I asked the barkeep, a young, pointlessly cynical chap, what he would suggest as a fun bowl drink.

"The Volcano," he muttered in a cold, monotone voice.

"Oh," I replied, "That sounds interesting. Whats in that?"

"Pineapple juice, passionfruit juice, guava juice, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and two kinds of rum."

"Jesus," I said, "That sounds like an awful lot of sugar in a cocktail. It sounds like a recipe for a massive hangover.  Can you suggest anything else?"


A good 20 seconds passed while I wondered if this was his poor attempt at dry humor. turns out it wasn't.

"Oh, I guess I'll take one of those."

Some of Smuggler's Cove's more memorable cocktails.
When the bowl arrived, they performed a spectacular display of setting the entire bowl ablaze and somehow showing us that a mixture of cinnamon and nutmeg is highly combustible. They also provided long novelty straws in which we could communally drink aplenty. And as my friend Sean exampled, could be pieced together to make massive super-straws, capable of drinking from everyone's cup in a not-so-sleuthy but overall hilarious manner. Good times.

The drink was sugary as hell and got the lot of us plenty drunk. Laughs were shared, butts were pinched, and a good time was had by all.

Would I recommend this place? It's certainly fun every now and then, but your wallet and diabetes will thank you if you keep it in moderation. Also, parking is ample when you catch the bus.

Hopefully pirates stay cool.
Name: Big Ass Fruity Drinks (Served at Smuggler's Cove)
Genre: Colorful Cocktails and Liquor
Value: Not very good.
What You'll Need to Enjoy Your Meal: See above tattoo.
Rating: 3 / 5

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