In the Drink

The endless club safari can be a tough slog.

On Saturday night, my friend Kim suggested we venture to Fitzy's Lounge in Delray Beach, a spot she frequents but that was new to me. She sold me on the place by saying it frequently had jazz bands, and tonight, a chill and funky vibe was just about right.

See, during the week, this Night Rider had been caught in a rip current of nightlife that pulled her out into deep, dark, partying waters. Knowing that survival in such a situation requires going with the flow rather than fighting it, I simply let the currents take me as friends and events demanded.

Wednesday had launched a Lake Worth trifecta — Jetsetters, Harry's Banana Farm, and Sneakers — to honor a friend who had recently returned to Florida and one who was about to leave. We had bounced from one bar to the next as they successively closed. Our drunken revelry included playing some sweet games of pool, flashing for a Harry's T-shirt, and partaking in some public, girl-on-girl making out that resulted in rebukes from an intolerant (and, I like to think, jealous) female bartender.

Tony Gleeson

And then Thursday, a solo excursion to Boca to check out Legends (the old Surf Café) ended as a late-nighter at Dada in Delray, where a who's who of the local band/spoken-word/fetish scene, many of them old friends, had gathered to see Telefiction and Fantastic Amazing — who once again lived up to their hyperbolic name.

Worn out by all that nightlife and a day job, I was afraid I wouldn't be able to keep my head above the proverbial water. But somehow, I got a second wind. If nightlife were an Olympic sport, I'm pretty sure I'd be medaling in 2008.

When Kim called, she was desperate to get out. She'd been house-bound from knee surgery, necessitated by an injury she sustained reaching for a shoe. She simply bent over to retrieve the footwear from her closet and — boing! — something snapped. At 30, these sorts of random injuries happen, evidently, even to gym-fit beauties.

"Don't worry, you'll still be popular, especially since you've gotten so much practice putting your legs up," I teased Kim, whose goddess-like six feet of slim, smart, strawberry-blond good looks were usually enough to ensure that we attracted lots of male attention and had a swimmingly good time.

We got to Fitzy's early (around 10 p.m.) so we could ensure that we got a seat. The industrial-chic décor — aluminum, concrete, glass, and black pleather — furnished the spacious lounge and offered the upscale feel just right for a martini. (Not that any décor ever deterred me from enjoying one, mind you.) Instead of a jazz band, we got a DJ — but one who played something besides booty rap, Joan Jett and Sublime being among the selections. Good enough for me.

As we sat at the far end of the half-circle, cigar-friendly bar, the smoke of a couple of stogie aficionados washed over us from clear across the room.

Kim and I were into another sort of addiction. True to form, we had our eyes on the hot bartender with the shoulder-length blond hair.

"You know who he looks like?" Kim asked.

"Yup," I nodded, gazing into my dirty martini in an attempt to show a modicum of respect by not visually tag-teaming the guy.

"Samantha's boy toy, Smith Jared," she said anyway, referencing Sex in the City's notorious manizer. He was just one of four preternaturally attractive bartenders — two male, two female — so that with a glass full of liquor and an eyeful of lovely, I was one happy Night Rider despite my long week.

Perhaps it was one of the bartenders who whet my appetite, but suddenly I was famished. In a friendly gesture, Simon, co-owner of Fitzy's, set a bowl of popcorn in front of us (probably a gesture that won't be repeated, since there was a six-foot diameter of popcorn debris beneath us once we'd finished.)

"Hey, thanks for getting my friend home the other night," Kim said to Simon. Her friend Michelle had passed out a few weeks earlier while sitting on the curb outside — putting a whole new spin on the term "curb appeal."

Simon had scooped up the friend and helped her the few blocks to her home.

"We've all been there, where we have no memory of getting home. I call it the 'beer scooter,'" he said in his charming British accent, equating his good turn with a kind of Good Samaritan Vespa patrol.

Beer scooter, huh? So far, I wasn't even on so much as a roller skate, so I ordered a Fitzy's Fuel martini to set me on the right track. The drink's four shots of espresso, chocolate vodka, and a splash of Bailey's had the right mix of potency and flavor. If martinis were men, here was my dream hunk — delicious, intoxicating, invigorating, and straight up.

Soon, I discovered the women's room was actually a woman's room —made for just one. The door was unlocked, but the woman inside, a chesty brunet who was talking on her cell phone, would not vacate it.

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