With a name like Blue Martini, you'd expect it to be the kind of place where you could stare down into a potent concoction and mourn the bad economy, a bad breakup, or just the fact that your father doesn't love you (and he still doesn't, sucker).
But Blue Martini is actually an alcohol-soaked party complete with disco ball, flashing lights, and live entertainment, all of which combined will cause your brain to explode with endorphins and soon forget that sadness even exists. And if that sensory overload doesn't work, nothing will numb your pain like a good fruit-flavored kick in the liver.
Ambiance: It was a Sunday night, so Blue Martini's Boca Raton location was a slow-paced paradise. The place has two scenery options: You can listen to jazz at one of two flashy indoor bars or chill out in the quieter, open-air area.
Inside was moderately populated. People were perched at light-wood tables and sunk into the soft black sofas. The walls were orange, black, and tan and were decorated with colorful paintings. Red neon lights flashed, and a handful of projected self-promotional "Blue Martini" logos slid across the floor. The singer on stage, Nicole Henry, was slightly obstructed by a row of pink lights that projected directly onto her face and black-and-white dress. Behind her were six flat screens and dozens of cubbyholes, all containing beautiful bottles of liquor.
Deciding to forgo this orgasmic array of light and sound, I traipsed back outside and plopped myself down on a brown wicker chair, respectably close to the kidney-shaped bar. Live jazz wafted out from beyond the black-shuttered doors of the building, and pretty waitresses prepped martini glasses.
Drinks: Christina, our platinum-blond waitress, was outfitted in a powder-blue corset top and a pair of loose-fitting black dress pants.
"Does that top hurt?" I asked, barely before she had a chance to mutter a greeting. I suspected it was the kind of suffocating shirt capable of causing some major rib-bruising. Looking as cute as she did, it should have at least been a little painful.
"Nah, it's actually quite comfortable," she said, flashing a smile. "They gave it to me when I started working here, so I can't complain."
We found out she'd been working there for only two weeks, though she'd worked at a handful of other Blue Martini locations.
"The newer locations have better layouts," she confided. "They learn as they go."
Taking her for a martini expert and never one to resist a blond, my companion asked her for martini suggestions. She recommended the "Palm Beacher," a martini composed of raspberry and berry vodka, Citrónge, lime juice, and cranberry juice. Without her help, thanks very much, I selected "Fly Me to the Moon," a concoction of Van Gogh Blue vodka, Citrónge, watermelon pucker sour mix, and pineapple juice.
While my drink was in the works, I ran into Joelle, the no-nonsense manager. She wore a black suit and her slicked brown hair in a ponytail and greeted me with a firm handshake. According to Joelle, this Boca Blue Martini had been open for six weeks and was already doing very well.
"This is Boca," I said. "It's crawling with old people. Do you guys end up getting mostly old folks as customers?"
"Older people tend to come in earlier, for the happy hours," she said. "But we get plenty of young people too, especially as it gets later." Having no real questions and completely intimidated by her, I squeaked out an ambiguous question about what makes Blue Martini so great.
"It's the best bar in the business," she said without hesitation.
"Aren't you a bit biased?" I asked.
"No," she said. I left it at that.
And a few minutes later, I sipped my martini and ate the alcohol-soaked decorative pineapple. Certainly good enough to chase away my lingering blues.
Patrons: Andrea, a cute blond with a pixieish face, had no problem singing the praises of the bar as soon as I introduced myself and asked her opinion. Her companion, a girl with smooth, black hair and an oval-shaped face, was a little more cautious of my tipsy interruption. She had a thick South African accent and plans to be in the United States for only six months before returning home. She told me her name is Jolene.
"Like the Dolly Parton song," I offered.
"Oh my God, yes!" she said.
" 'Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene — I'm beggin' of you, please, don't take my man,' " I serenaded, and both girls laughed.
I asked them what they thought of the place.
"This is really nice," Andrea offered. "The music is very chill; I can actually hear what my friend is saying. If it was a Saturday night and I was partying, I'd go somewhere where I could dance. But this is a good place to have a conversation."
"Also, not a whole lot of seedy guys tonight," I said.
"I know that type; I hang out in Fort Lauderdale a lot," Andrea said. "It's awful, but when those guys talk to me, I do the same thing as when the Homeless Voice talks to me. I just pretend to be on my phone."
"Oh, back home, we deal with it this way," Jolene said, raising her eyebrows and making a facial expression best described as an icy cocktail of boredom, superiority, annoyance, and stone-cold disgust.
"This place reminds me of some places back home," Jolene said. "It makes me sad; I'm really homesick." Maybe Jolene really had come to Blue Martini to forget the blues.
"That's nothing a few more martinis can't cure," I offered.
"Yeah, they're helping," she smiled.
Regulars: Even at a relatively new spot, there were sure to be a few die-hard regulars. On a tip from Jolene, I approached a micro-mini blond bombshell and her lanky, scruffy male companion. Shawn was nursing a Crown; Crystal was sipping on a mojito margarita.
I asked if they came here a lot.
"About six or seven times," Shawn said. "Last night, we were at the Blue Martini in Fort Lauderdale."
He quickly added: "We were bored."
"This one's better," Crystal said.
"Because of its name, you'd expect this place to be a little more depressing," I said. "So let me ask, what makes you guys blue?"
"Blue?" Crystal asked.
"Sad, annoyed, depressed," I said. Honestly, my empty martini glass made me pretty blue. "Global warming makes me blue."
"That doesn't exist," Shawn said, giving the kind of laugh someone gives when they're not fucking kidding.
Crystal had an answer immediately. "Lying." Her eyes flashed.
"Nagging," Shawn responded immediately.
I backed away. Causing tense moments between couples only makes me slightly blue, but that's not anything another martini can't fix.