Some might think the Night Ranger lifestyle is pretty much one überfest of going out and getting hammered, all under the guise of “research.” Well … sure. But we’re much more than that — so much more. In between the drinking and the writing, we also ponder various obsessions, such as our perpetual fascination with cheesy TV shows. Take, for example, our newest favorite, The O.C. (Shut up. You know you’re watching it, too.) How can we resist the pairing of Ryan, the dreamy, sensitive delinquent, with Seth, the geeky type who also plays Lane’s boyfriend on Gilmore Girls? (Mmm … Seth.) We’ve deemed Tuesday nights our TV nights; we also watch The Real World: Paris (to mock it, we might add — to mock!) and Queer Eye. As a result, it takes some coaxing to get us to go out that night. (Well, OK, not that much. We’re easy like that.)
So, recently, after we realized that a holiday weekend and early deadlines would force us to go out on a Tuesday, we headed to the Cup and Saucer, the coffee shop and bar that boasts of having the oldest happy hour in the City Market. Running daily from 4 to 7 p.m., it serves up $2 wells, $3 calls and $4 martinis.
While waiting for Research Assistant Soren, we sat at the bar and ordered a Russian Quaalude, made with Stoli, Kahlua, Irish Crème and Frangelico (a hazelnut liqueur). One of twelve specialty martinis on the menu (in addition to the regulation vodka and gin), the drink was so tasty that it had its desired effect of soothing us after a stressful day at work. As we imbibed, Chris, our very nice bartender, started chatting with us, and the conversation quickly veered into books, which made for a pleasant talk. During this exchange, in rushed a guy who asked to borrow one of the bar’s chairs. He wanted to take it out to the street and photograph it. Chris agreed, and the guy left, toting a camera in one hand and a chair in the other. “I love the episode where he gives Kramer the jacket,” Chris deadpanned.
In the midst of the randomness, Soren walked in, so we switched to a table and ordered Boulevard Wheat. After taking a look around, Soren deemed the interior “very blue.” It was a mellow atmosphere; we heartily approved of the reading material available — because we’re magazine junkies, we love any coffeehouse that has a wide assortment for its guests. The late-afternoon sunlight filtered in through the large windows, and the place was so urban-coffee-shop that it seemed to resemble the set of a TV show, complete with a cast of neighborhood regulars. Though it wasn’t very crowded, it contained an equal mix of alcohol and coffee drinkers, some alone and reading, some in socializing clusters.
Willow and Kim were in the latter category. Drinking their Smirnoff Ice Triple Black and Boulevard Wheat, they caught our interest not only because Kim had her dog, Lucy (a lovely, two-and-a-half-year-old shar-pei mix), but also because both had knitting implements in front of them. The two are part of a knitting group called the “Knit and Bitch Circle,” which meets there once a month. One problem stood out like a dropped purl stitch, though. “We never have anything to bitch about,” Willow said as she worked on a scarf.
“We must every now and then,” countered Kim, a sweater knitter. “They’re so nice to us here,” Kim said, explaining why the group meets at the Cup and Saucer. “They serve coffee and alcohol, and everyone is happy.”
“It’s a laid-back atmosphere,” agreed owner Jill Erickson. “It’s not uptight and not a meat market. It’s the kind of place a girl could come in by herself and not be hit on … that sounds like a sexist thing, but guys, too. It’s not a young crowd. It’s single, professional, late twenties to early thirties.”
Erickson said the happy hour crowds are a bit quieter early in the week but pick up once the workweek draws to an end. She also alerted us to some other cool goings-on: As of September 17, the Cup and Saucer is taking over the space next door, which will become the coffee bar and dining area. The current space will remain the bar, and a patio will also open adjacent to the new space at the north end of the building.
After the annex is complete, we’d be happy to give up more Tuesday nights to hang out there. Why settle for a TV Seth when coffee shops are swarming with real-life ones?