How to Save the Most Money at Bars, According to Bartenders

Did those cocktails from last night leave a few extra, unexpected digits on your credit card?

(And, uh, maybe those drinks merrily offered to your friends — hey, put it on my tab! — didn’t help.)

Navigating the cost of going out, whether to a sophisticated cocktail bar or your favorite dive down the street, isn’t as easy as it might seem.

This is especially true if you’re ultimately trying to have fun and not think about finances, and if you’re not seasoned at figuring out the maze of a drinks menu, which somehow always looks a little fuzzier as the night rolls on.

To see if it’s possible to save money on one of most people’s biggest expenses (without swearing off drinking altogether, which is always an option), we talked to those who know best: bartenders themselves. Here, they share their own tips and strategies for going out — without going over-budget.

Well, well, well.

“Happy hour of course is the first thing that comes to everyone’s mind, but there are other ways to find good deals,” says Meredith Hayman, cocktail director at R6 Distillery in El Segundo, California, who’s also worked behind the bar in the Los Angeles area for over 13 years.

“Check out the well offerings [also known as house or rail liquors because they’re the go-to spirits used by staff],” she says. “Every bar offers these and they are typically around $10 and often what they use in their cocktails anyway. Talk to them and ask what’s in their well.”

Be honest, and servers will frequently be honest in return about which well options are worthwhile or not — and when you land on a promising option, you can request it in a standard cocktail.

Happy hour doesn’t have to be so obvious.

Happy hour mostly exists to lure in new customers and increase foot traffic during off-peak hours with large-volume orders. It has advantages (the discounts!) and disadvantages (the crowds!), but one perk is the ability to squeeze a few dollars off more experimental items.

“There are some interesting takes on [happy hour], especially in wine bars, where they use reduced pricing as a means to have their guests try different grape varietals and move out of their comfort zones, which I am all for,” says Frank Caiafa, beverage director at The Stayton Room at New York City’s Lexington Hotel. This can also apply to new tap beers or a house cocktail the head bartender is tweaking. If you’re willing to try something new, resist going to your default order and read the list from top to bottom.

Fall back on the shot-and-beer specials — or the wine bottle list.

“In more divey spots, where I am wary that I will get a good cocktail, a shot and beer can go a long way,” Hayman advises. Otherwise known as boilermakers, these supreme deals deliver exactly what’s listed and pack an alcoholic punch. They may or may not be advertised, but just ask your bartender to see what’s available.

Also “check out the wine bottle list,” Hayman adds, especially if you’re a discerning wine fan at a place with a decent list. “Don’t be scared. You can get a bottle for $40, and that is four drinks right there.” It’s not always easy, but estimating what you might drink at the beginning of the night — and what your drinking partner’s plan is, too — can save you both some money.

Go with draft beer…

Draft beer, or beer delivered directly from the keg, is the prize of any brew fan. It also makes the most monetary sense. “Choose draft when you can. There’s less overhead for the bar and the brewery,” Hayman advises, so the quality is higher for the price. “You also get a better beer, since it’s been dispensed from the tap. Think tap soda over bottled soda.”

…but don’t limit yourself anywhere on the menu.

If the draft list is sparse, look into all the offerings including canned and bottled beers (especially the former, which cost less to produce and can present amazing deals) to find something you think you’ll love.

The same goes for spirits. You may find that the standard liquor pour and that premium brand you’ve wanted to try are only separated by a few dollars.

Remember that you’re allowed to ask questions.

A nice cocktail bar is more expensive than a sports bar, and that’s by design. In a high-end establishment, especially in a city with a high cost of living, “be prepared to spend $13 to $18 a cocktail,” says Hayman.

But there’s a bonus: “You tend to get an expert along with it. Here you find the cocktails geeks, the hospitality experts, the ones that make this their career, their focus, their purpose,” Hayman says. “There is no question they can’t answer and you leave feeling that the cost was well worth it.” And while it’s not reflected that way in your checking account, isn’t it true a cocktail you adore at least feels less expensive?

About that infamous “buyback.”

The “buyback,” or the practice of getting a drink for free from your bartender, is mythical and poorly understood. You should never expect it just because you bought three beers or unloaded your thoughts about the latest season of Succession. But it can feel like a gift for those who do get it — and those people are always good patrons.

“The best way to get a buyback is to smile, be patient, and use your manners. At the end of the day, bartenders are human beings with feelings and emotions,” says Justin Campbell, bar director of The H.Wood Group, which is behind LA spots like Bootsy Bellows and The Nice Guy.

So don’t annoy your bartender by bragging about who you know. Don’t touch the garnish dishes. And don’t be obnoxious. Instead, be an amiable regular, because as Hayman succinctly puts it, “Many places reward you for your loyalty.”

 

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Servers Share The Worst First Date They’ve Ever Witnessed – Part 1

First dates can be incredibly uncomfortable – but usually when people say that they mean uncomfortable for the daters. Trust us, though, some of those first dates can be just as uncomfortable for the people forced to witness them.

Reddit user StickyRice4 asked:

Considering your classic first date setup typically happens at a bar or restaurant, there were a lot of answers, each a little bit more awful than the one before. Generally speaking, they all boil down to one major mistake – an inability or unwillingness to read your date.

So there you go, folks. That’s our pro-tip for the day. Read your date so you know whether or not you should bust out your Pokemon, your racism or homophobia, your fetishes, or that thing you do with your tongue.

Spoiler Alert: Yeeeeaaaaah you should probably keep that stuff to yourself on a first date.

Untouched

This isn’t as bad as some of the others but the guy and girl arrived separately and it seemed like they were meeting for the first time at the restaurant. They sat down then the girl excused herself and went to the bathroom. The guy ordered drinks for them both while she was gone then, after like 30 mins, ordered two meals. It was so obvious she wasn’t coming back but he kept calling her and eventually just left all the food and drink untouched and paid the bill.

Starbucks And Japanese

She was Japanese and he started off by showing her his shirt with sumo wrestlers on it, then would ask questions like… what’s your favorite sushi? Do you only speak Japanese? How do you say toilet in Japanese? They have sumo in Japan right? Did you see my shirt? It was so amazingly awkward

Homophobic Mom

I once had two very young (like 15 at most) teenage boys come into my place for what was clearly their first date together, if not their first date ever. Maybe 20 minutes into their date one of their mothers showed up, realized it was a boy her son was on a date with, and started screaming and crying about she didn’t understand how he could do this to her and didn’t he know she wanted grandchildren, etc, etc. She just flipped out and was totally homophobic and told him he wasn’t allowed in her home if he was going to choose this lifestyle. He started crying, his poor date was totally bewildered, and ended up calling his mom to come take them home.

BBQ

Girl and guy came into the barbecue restaurant I worked at. At this place, like many casual BBQ places, you pay after you order and then come back to pick up your food when your number is called. That will matter in a second. Anyway…

They met at the door exchanging the usual “Hi, nice to meet you!”, etc. The guy was a complete ass. She ordered ribs and without hesitation he said:

“Do you want to keep that hot figure of yours or look like that chick over there?”

He then pointed to a woman who was slightly overweight. While they were waiting in line to pay he started flirting with the chick behind them. She dead ass waited until he paid then left without waiting for the food.

Her Hand

Couple in their mid-twenties comes in, it’s obviously a first date but they seem to really like each other and are getting along well. I wasn’t serving them however. About halfway through their meal I notice them holding hands over the table. Cute. Then, the guy lifts her hand to his lips and kisses the back of it. A bit of an outdated gesture, but still cute I guess. The woman seems slightly confused but goes along with it. A little while later I see the guy do it again. Okay, dude. Then again. Woman is confused and looks a little uncomfortable. They are no longer holding hands. I go to serve my table and see the dude full on MAKING OUT with her hand, tongue and all. Woman looks extremely embarrassed and uncomfortable, looking everywhere but at her date. I go over and casually ask if they need anything, and the dude stops. Woman yanks her hand back. She left pretty soon after.

The Cutest Karma

I had a 2 top in a small booth and across from them was a family of 6. The 2 top was in their mid 40’s maybe 50. I was delivering food to the 6 top and I was being berated for not using legs with my big trays, so I grabbed a pair and headed off. When I was setting them down a stacked plate on my tray shifted to the side and the whole tray pitched toward the 6 top. I panicked and tried to stop it from falling and it all went backwards off the tray.

Unluckily I didn’t hear a single plate shatter. I turned around and the woman at the 2 top had rib sauce on her face, mashed potatoes in her bust, and broccoli all over her lap. I started with, “I’m so sorry ma’am. Please stand up and we’ll get you cleaned up.”

My 6 top was forgotten at that moment. I pleaded with her to get up so we could clean her off, someone produced a towel for me, I had 2 managers trying to help. She was so polite and insistent that it was nobody’s fault. Her husband finally said, “at least wipe the sauce off your face.” And she laughed and got up.

Everything was comped on their ticket including alcohol. It was the only tray I ever dropped and they never made me use legs again.

They came back in and asked for me the next week. The husband told me they were celebrating 30 years together that night. I felt horrible. Then he told me on their first date she made spaghetti, and accidentally dumped it in his lap. He told her it was karma and they had a huge laugh, and a free meal.

The House Wine

I worked as a waitress in an Italian restaurant while in uni in 2006. Obvious first date comes in. He’s booked it and requested a table in a secluded area of the restaurant because the acoustics would be perfect.She arrives and asks to move table to by the window. No big deal. He’s annoyed at this.

They ordered a carafe of the house red with their meals. Anything she said he’d turn it into some achievement he’d already accomplished. He kept making comments about her order, such as how fattening a dish would be etc,and then proceeded to say his family owned a vineyard and he knew a good red wine when he smelt one.

He then asked for the most expensive wine on the menu and to take away the what he called “piss of a house wine” then talked about how the bouquet was different and the clarity was so much better on the “expensive” wine.

When it came to dessert she had enough of his bull and flipped when he said that she shouldn’t have any or she’d end up with stretch marks. She was a bit overweight but not overly so. She stood up and yelled at him for being a condescending piece of garbage, for knowing nothing at all about wine and dropped the coup de grâce that her father was our wine supplier and that the “piss of a house wine” red was exactly the same as the most expensive wine (all of which was totally true).

He was left speechless with the full check to pay.

 

I’ll write a few more in the next couple of hours!

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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Cherie – Chapter 5 – Be Careful What You Wish For – Part I

Don’t be a guy.

Be a man.

Saturday arrived. I woke up relatively early. Philly had periods of showers but the rain was supposed to stop around 1pm, so that was good. I didn’t want another rainy day date with Cherie. But actually I was looking forward to seeing her so the weather didn’t really matter.

I stopped by the salon to drop off some detergent and bring my friend Trish some fives for the register. She was hung over from a night of Jameson at Tattooed Mom’s with her friends on South Street. She stopped drinking alcohol about a year ago, because she said she didn’t like how she behaved on it. Said it made her angry. Trish is angry anyway and I can only imagine what a nightmare she is on booze. That’s probably part of the reason she can’t function without smoking marijuana everyday and drinking oceans of coffee just to get through the day. I’ll be writing a chapter about her in the near future but for now I’ll stick to the events of today.

I give Trish the fives and she hands me a twenty out of the register. I’m walking across the lobby to take a seat and chat with her for a bit when she says. You have a hole in the back of your pants. I’m like, “Stop checking out my sweet ass.”

“Seriously dude. You have a huge hole in your pants. Don’t you feel that?”

I reach back and sure enough, there is a pretty good-sized hole there.

“I didn’t want you going out on your date today with a big old hole in your pants, dude.”

I joke that maybe I could guide Cherie’s hand to it in the movie theater for some cheap thrills.

“It’s the 3rd date!”

“I hate that shit!”

I tell her I agree. I don’t know if you all know this but a lot of young people are under the impression that the 3rd date equals sex. Which I find stupid. In all seriousness I would rather get to know someone and if there is a mutual attraction, the sex should just happen as a celebration at some point. There should never be a deadline related to intercourse. That almost sounds predatory.

So I head back to my apartment to put on another pair of jeans. I grab a pair and realize I haven’t worn them in a while. Like two years. They are a 36 waist. I now wear a 32 waist, but can do a 34 with a belt. They’re just too big and I look ridiculous. I grab another pair. Another hole in the seat. What’s going on here? Did I wear out the seat of two pair of jeans? I know I see the occasional mouse here in the building but what sort of butt munching rodents do we have around here?

I find a pair that are in decent shape with no holes in the seat, and put them on. This will have to do. I go downstairs and summon an UBER. While driving down to Columbus Boulevard to the multiplex, I chat with my driver, Hanna. She asks me what movie I’m going to see. I tell her the lady I’m taking likes scary movies, so we’re seeing, ‘Ouija: Origin of Evil.’ Some how she gathers from our conversation that my date is younger than me. She asks, and I tell her she’s a little younger. She tells me about a male friend of hers, who is 50 something and was dating a woman in her 40’s and just wasn’t happy. He said that women his age were all carrying all the same baggage. He’s now dating a woman around 30 and says that younger women are just more fun. I say that I agree, but when you date younger women they all eventually want to get married and have kids.  She says that her friend is always up front about that sort of thing. Maybe I should have been clear about that in my last 3 failed relationships. And here I am being driven to what could possibly be a 4th similar destination.

She lets me out and I go into the lobby and get in line for tickets. The movie starts at 1:50 and it is now 1:30. I get the tickets and as I turn to wait for Cherie, she appears. On time. Early. I like that. It’s really nice to see her. Even though it’s only been four days since our last encounter.

Her hair is up in a bun, exposing her lovely slender neck. makes me think about how I kissed that neck on Tuesday. She’s wearing a yellow blouse, and light brown slacks. They cling to her shapely legs.

We are about to enter our auditorium and we notice the floor is really sticky. Someone must have spilled a soda there, and they tried to mop it up but didn’t get it all up. Now I’ve been to plenty of movie theaters in my time, and have jokes about the sticky stuff and detritus that is on the floor of the theaters, but this was really sticky. I had to laugh out loud. I practically had to curl my toes to keep my shoes from being pulled off by that sticky floor. Just a classic ‘out at the movies’ moment.

We go in and decide that we both like to sit in the back of the theater. I ask her if she wants anything to eat. I suggest some delicious buttery popcorn. She says it’s ok but doesn’t like how it can stick in your teeth. She says she likes chocolate, but not dark chocolate. I tell her I love dark chocolate. She smiles and knows what I mean. I really do prefer dark chocolate to milk chocolate, but I also love the color of her skin. I go and mortgage my house at the concession stand on exorbitantly expensive snacks. Medium popcorn, medium cherry coke, bottle of water, and a bag of snickers minis for baby. $21. The food was as much as the tickets. The kid behind the counter even told me I could upgrade to a large popcorn and a large soda for $.50 more. I compliment him on his up-sell, but politely decline.

I get back to Cherie. I get all of our snacks and drinks squared away and sit down. “How did you know I loved Snickers?” she asks. “Well I’m funny and you like to laugh, so I figured, Snickers. she smiles and we settle into the previews. There aren’t many people in the theater. I like that. There’s also no late arrivals and no one is sitting in front of us. I love that as well. People are getting seated and chattering a little but that’s acceptable during the previews. We’re whispering closely. Then we kiss. It’s really nice. I feel like a teenager. I haven’t smooched in a movie theater in years. It was so sweet to hold hands too. She rubbed my arm and caressed my hand, and I was even so bold as to rub her leg and knee. It was all very gentle and romantic. What a refreshing difference from the crap women I went on dates with a few months ago. But I’m really enjoying this elegant romantic odyssey.

There is one rub that I have to mention. It’s happened a few times since then. We call it the C-Block, or the CBs. Cherie and I are in the very back row of the theater. All the way in the aisle to the right against the wall. There is only one way out. Doesn’t some pair of fucknuts sit at the very end of the aisle? This couple just sort of drops it there. One row down would have been fine. But they are right now, in OUR aisle. They could have sat anywhere. There weren’t that many people in the theater. It’s just a human thing. Homo Sapiens are such social animals they have to be together all the time. I can tell Cherie doesn’t want them there and neither do I. But there’s nothing we can do. Nothing but make a bunch of trips to the snack bar and the bathrooms. This way we can thrust our delicious firm buttocks right in their stupid faces.

Oh, never mind. It’s just annoying, we just wanted some private time to neck in the back of the theater!

The movie was a pretty by the numbers horror flick. I’d give it a solid three and a half stars. Demon possession, scary children, and good sudden frights do make you jump. We shared the popcorn and the candy. It was lovely. I was happy to be there sharing this Halloween treat with her.

After the film, we went outside. The sun was out and the rain was gone. It had been warm during the week, but had suddenly turned chilly in the last couple of days. Cherie always has trouble finding a place to park in the city, but down by the movie theater there is always loads of parking spots. We walk over to her Saab, and hop in to get out of the chill. We’re chatting about our next move, (which I have already planned) and more kissing ensues. She tells me she was hoping I would agree to sit in the back of the theater so we could neck. It appears this girl really likes me. She says she likes how soft my hands are. It makes me think of Captain Quint when he grabs Matt Hooper’s hands in the film Jaws, and says “You’ve got city hands, Mr. Hooper, from counting money all your life!” That, and the scene in Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men” when one of the men on the farm puts petroleum jelly in his one glove to keep is hand soft for when he touches his woman. I don’t know why my mind flashed to those two images but for a moment they do.

I suggest we go over to Dave and Buster’s to go play games together. She likes the idea. I will say this about my lovely neuroscience major. She is very bright and quick of wit, but extremely laid back and easy-going. She’s from California, and this chick is chill. I always compliment her about her sweet disposition, because I really like that about her. Peaceful is good. She tells me, that between her two jobs, going to class, and taking care of her son, she has to make many decisions every day. She says she likes how I take charge, and just tell her where we’re going and what time it’s happening. I always have a plan and take the lead. She finds that attractive. So take note male readers, many women like to be told what you’re doing with them and where you’re taking them. Women are great negotiators and communicators, but when it comes to picking a lunch spot, just tell them pizza or sushi or just take them somewhere they serve different stuff and go. I have to give thanks here to my late father in regard to the clock. If he told you something was going to happen, or we were going to be somewhere at a specific time, it happened without error. He taught me that your word is your bond, and always be punctual. Like Beau Bridges says to Michelle Pfieffer in The Fabulous Baker Boys, “Punctuality is the first rule of show business.” Life itself is like a giant long series. You’re the star of your own show. Make it a fun, exciting show if you can. To sum up: Girls like a take-charge man.

Don’t be a guy.

Be a man.

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day at 8am EST.

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Dina – 2011 to Present – In The Vault

“These clowns come in and are fans of Prova and act like crazy drunk, loud assholes. I fucking hate that. I literally want to call the cops and say these middle eastern looking guys were talking about taking flying lessons and not landing lessons and there was talk about the new Comcast tower being built.

They were that annoying.”

I crush it at the salon on a Saturday because I’ll be gone for 3 days. Dina, my friend and broker and I meet up at 1518 Bar & Grille. She’s 4’11” and adorable. She also has the metabolism of a bee. She loves Smores, fried chicken, Oreos, and ice cream.

Dina orders a lemon martini. I’m on my 2nd straight up with a twist and Asha the bartender hooks me up with house but it’s Ketel One.

She looks hot.  Boots, dark jeans, and custom leather jacket. Cute as hell. Dark curls tumble about her shoulders and of course that hot pouty mouth of hers.

I introduce her to  her to Prova the bartender. (See: Prova – 2015 to Present – Glow of the Sun) She looks amazing as always. Those dimples!

These clowns come in and are fans of Prova and act like crazy drunk, loud assholes. I fucking hate that. I literally want to call the cops and say these middle eastern looking guys were talking about taking flying lessons and not landing lessons and there was talk about the new Comcast tower being built.

They were that annoying.

Dina is amazing. She’s such a no bullshit girl who is so sure about herself. I love her plus she looks 18. I always knew she was too good for any life or job i saw her in. I’m also happy her husband is such a chill solid pup he doesn’t mind his hot wife hanging out with the Dark Lord and having drinks.

We need to get out of here. These Indian guys suck. So loud and annoying. I can’t think straight.

We close out and I let the staff know that there’s no hard feelings but that’s why we’re leaving. We need to talk and I need to hear her. I miss my friend.

We never go out on Saturday night. It’s all young drunk people around city. The women are extraordinary though.

We decide to check out Square 1682 but the staff sucks and we head to Sofitel. Liam is on and so is the waitress who likes to go topless when she gets drunk. Let’s just call her Tulip. I usually do a rock trivia thing with Liam but tonight I have a different one.

“You wake up and look out your front door and see the sun rise out of the Atlantic Ocean. Later that day, you walk out your back door and watch the sun set in the Pacific Ocean. Where is your house?”

Tulip looks great and I intro Dina to the crew. The bar is full so we sit and a quiet table in the lounge, which is glorious. Tulip brings a snack tray for Dina because as we all know, she loves to eat.

Dina’s happy and we order wine. She’s hungry, so more food is on the way. I got the drinks at 1518 but I know she’ll cover everything from here which is clutch.

We catch up on my life. Daughter Lorelei, the fitness center I should be opening in Rittenhouse in the next 60 days, and what’s happening with this blog, the book, and TV series we’re developing about it. Dina and her husband just settled on a house in Rittenhouse so I love that they’ll be in the neighborhood with us.

Liam is texting me solutions to my puzzle and they’re all wrong.

She says she has a strange story about a former colleague of mine. This person has since cut me off a couple of years ago for no apparent reason, but he likes to keep weak inferiors around him, and I hate his friends and wife anyway so its no loss to me. We could have been mighty but he never did what he was supposed to do with the business so now it’s just a trust fund baby’s way to play work. I loved the guy, but he has to make the juvenile choices he needs to make.

She tells me about this dinner she had with this other dude, I used to know that always had a thing for her. He’s harmless. We all still think he’s a virgin, so there’s that. He’s a really smart guy that is always super excited about everything that is before him, and it comes off as childish. I like the guy, but to me he’s just a bore.

If he would just get laid he’d probably chill out and get a different perspective on everything. I hate to say that, but that would probably fix his ass.

She goes to this dinner with this guy, as a friend or a wing woman or whatever with my former colleague and his horrible wife. I remember Everybody hated this guy’s wife years ago. She’s awful. She’s kind of hot. But only in the sense that if I were marooned on a desert island with her I would bang her for a few months but it would only be a matter of time before I became so annoyed with her that I would eventually kill her and eat her to survive just to not have to listen to her endless bullshit.

So they have their awkward dinner, little virgin guy gets an UBER with Dina back to Rittehouse. He gets in the car with her and says:

“So they are separated. She wanted it.”

I know this guy has a pre-nup so he’s well protected in regard to his daddy’s loot.

“Really?”

She thinks the wife is awful just like the rest of us.

“Yea, he went to an event and told her he could only get one ticket because they were really expensive, but he went with is new editor.”

“Oh wow. That’s a shame.”

“Yea, and his wife is living at the house, (because she doesn’t earn shit) and he said he’s living at a hotel but he’s really living with new editor girlfriend at an apartment somewhere.”

I am not shocked about this news because I knew he was miserable with that harpy years ago. She cheated on him in college and is crazy. She has destroyed property at the house, assaulted people at concerts, fights with him all the time, withholds sex all the time, has flushed his weed, and cigars, and is just an all around child who behaves as if she has fetal alcohol syndrome. Thank God she never wanted kids, because he dodged a huge child support bullet and should just cut that beast loose.

But he’s cut me off and I take that as a smite to me. I loved the guy and we were tight. I don’t know hat’s happened to him, but I’m sure he’s in a world of pain right now. I hope he gets through it okay, but I’m German and so is he, and if you read this dude, then schadenfreude is a bitch baby.

Karma can be a real fucker. You reap what you sow. You make bad life choices and that shit comes back on you like a hurricane. I just hope he can cash her out and flush her from his life and hopefully move on with the new mistress he’s fucking.

Dina and I eat and drink like Gods at Sofitel and I’m happy just to have her in my presence and hear her voice. I adore her. She’s so sound as a woman. I wish I could replicate her into five more to hang out with. Maybe a lawyer, and accountant Dina would be a start.

I go out for a smoke and she pays the bill. (Love her!) We both trust each other implicitly with all of our honesty and the relationship is wonderful. She takes care of my money and knows how to keep her mouth shut. Obviously we discuss everything that’s going on in our lives and it’s so intimate that I can’t talk about it here but maybe someday if this becomes a TV show our characters can talk about children, and marriage, but I can’t divulge our secrets here. Don’t worry’s it’s not that exciting, but this is a dating blog and not a forum for right and wrong.

We decide to head out and Dina needs Ben & Jerry’s. Of course I stand and put her leather jacket on her slight frame. You have to be a gentleman 100% of the time with everyone, guys.

We step out into the night. It’s stopped raining and the street is wet and the air is cool.

Happily there’s a store half way down the block from the hotel bar and it’s still open. I’m a wine, cocktail and carb guy. I’m just not really into sweets or dairy anymore. It doesn’t agree with my physiology. Middle age. But she’s 28 and looks 18 and loves sweets. She says we MUST stop there. I’ve walked by the place a hundred times and have had no desire to ever climb the steps and go in. (Even on National Ice Cream Day, where they give away free cones all day!)

We go in and this is alien to me. I never go into ice cream parlors. It’s clean and bright. I like it but prefer a dark bar.

The kid with the hat and dreds and tie-dye shirt is sweet and articulate. He knows his products. I always admire that. Dina knows this place so well that if she asks for endless samples of every crazy flavor combination they will let her put them in her mouth endlessly. I have this arrangement with Prova but she does it for me with craft beers so I get it. The ice cream flavors seem delicious, and she devours a few samples lovingly.  She encourages me to partake in the samples but I know what rich dairy will do to my colon so I only do one. It is some sort of chocolate, vanilla, cookies and nuts and crushed cone concoction. It is exquisite in my mouth.

I get it. But there are things in my life now that are far sweeter than any frozen treat can match.

Dina decides on some lethal combo and they put it all on a sugar cone. This is actually a really sweet moment in my mind. I adore Dina. I trust her with my money and my secrets. She’s one of my favorite people in my life.

I’m not getting an ice cream cone but this reminds me of some of the sweet romantic moments of my young life. Getting an ice cream cone with a young pretty girl on a Saturday night. She manages my financial portfolio and is a trusted friend but in this moment I am just happy to walk her home.

She’s loving her ice cream cone as we stroll through Rittenhouse with me walking on the inside so she doesn’t get splashed by a passing car.

I love this.

I like walking her home to her stoop and giving her a hug goodnight. We promise to keep in touch and have a lunch in our future. She unlocks her door and goes back to her husband and her little dog Lily.

I light a cig and walk home. The streets are wet and slick. They reflect the lights and sounds of the city. I’m happy after a long day at the salon, and a sweet night with a feiend.

I look forward to tomorrow.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish Monday through Friday at 8am EST.

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Cherie – Chapter 1 – Love At First Swipe

“She has youth and beauty, and as I’m finding out about myself, I’m bored with anything else. She fits the criteria. Young. Attractive. Slender. She seems intelligent. Articulate. Good communication skills for the most part. Likes scary movies and thrillers. Getting her education. Works two jobs. What could go wrong?”

I was literally about to begin writing this, and I just got a text from Cherie, so I hope that means something. I’ve responded back with “You must be psychic! I was just thinking about you.” (I was thinking about her because I was just about to write the first half of this very chapter.)

We swiped right on each other on Tinder. Cherie is a 26-year-old attractive, fit, black woman whose zodiac sign is Scorpio. When we first connected I sent her a simple, hello. She got back to me and said she was doing well, but she sitting in a boring class. She’s apparently studying developmental neuroscience. Once the small talk and pleasantries were dismissed, I asked her my standard question. “What prompted you to swipe right on my profile?”

She expressed that she liked the things I wrote in my bio. She said she likes to laugh and dine out, and like me, she’s a good listener. That’s pretty standard fare so far. Everybody likes to laugh and go out to dinner.

I truly hope that she’s a good listener, because I like to talk.

Then she asked me the same question. I told her that she seemed like an intelligent person who wanted to do big things. I really just read her brief profile about her being a neuroscience and psychology major, that had high dreams and aspirations, and spun it back to her in my own words.

I’ve heard from several of the women I’ve spoken to on Tinder that many times when they connect with someone, there is this long period of texting. Sometimes it doesn’t materialize into anything. Since I’ve operated in the real world my whole life, I like to establish things soon, and try to get a meeting. Sound like I’m in sales? I am. Depending on the client you always want to close as soon as possible. Keeps your numbers up and your pipeline full. So I move right in and ask her if she’s like to meet up for a drink sometime.

She thanks me for the compliment and agrees she has big dreams. (I know, I read it on your profile.) She says that having a drink with me sounds like a great idea. That was fast. My next response was positive affirmation and my cell number. She says she’ll send me a text.

Now, that looks like it happened very quickly but it actually didn’t. I was living my life all day, and she was probably in and out of classes and whatever else. That brief and pointed exchange began at 9:45am and ended at 3:30pm. Five and a half hours later! Now I just had to wait to see if she was going to text me.

Within moments she did. We continued our conversation off Tinder. She went on to tell me that she works as a medical assistant at a hospital, and also works at a pediatric office! 2 jobs and school? Wow! I tell her briefly my stuff, and she goes on to say that she loves her jobs because she gets to help people, but they can be stressful. I then hit her with how I get my energy from people and enjoy bringing people together personally and professionally. She likes that, and reveals that she’s a shy person at first but then she opens up after a bit.

I try to get her out for a Wednesday night drink.

I don’t hear from her for the rest of the day. She finally gets back to me and apologizes for the silence. She had a very long day with school and work. She re-affirms that she’d like to meet me for a drink, but she works late on Wednesdays but the weekend is probably better. I tell her I’m free Saturday. She’s available in the afternoon. I lock it down for 2pm Saturday. I tell her I’ll pick the spot. She thinks that sounds great.

That was early in the week. A lot can happen in 5 days. So I ping her Wednesday just to keep the current going. We participate in some light banter about the weather and our days events.

I ask another one of my standards: “What do you like to do when you’re not working or studying?” She likes movies, dining out and dancing, etc. I tell her I’m a former musician and not much of a dancer, but love movies and dining out too. I want to know what kind of movies she likes because that would be a splendid second date.

She likes scary movies and thrillers. I tell her I like the same. (I actually like a myriad of film genres but for this exchange, liking the same thing she likes works) I follow with “Let’s go to the movies together soon!” See what I did there?  I’m actually setting up a second date with a woman I haven’t even met for the first time yet. I’m reading her responses. She’s smart. I don’t ask or suggest, I simply say: “Let’s go see a movie together soon.” She responds with, “That sounds like a great idea. Notice how she uses the word “Sounds?” She is a good listener like she said. It reminds me of a thing that my ex-girlfriend Michelle does when I talk to her. She stays attentive to what I’m saying and usually mirrors my words back to me in affirmation. I like that Cherie is doing the same thing. Michelle does that all the time. (See: Michelle – 2007 to Present – A Brand New Day) I love Michelle for that. and she doesn’t even know about her gift. (Ordoes she?)

Cherie says she hasn’t seen too many commercials for scary movies lately. I tell her I’ll look into it. She responds that she thinks that’s nice. I like her manners already. I just hope that if I take her to a scary movie she doesn’t start yelling things like: “Don’t go in there!” or “Get out the house, fool!”

I’m going to go ahead and apologize to everyone reading this in advance for that last bit.

It’s getting late. As a gentle reminder, I tell her she seems really cool, and that I’m really looking forward to meeting her on Saturday.

Crickets.

But at 7:30 the next morning I get a mirrored response. “Good Morning. Thanks you seem cool as well. I’m looking forward to meeting you.” I simply respond with a smiley face. Which brings us back to tonight when I began this chapter. As I finish this part she has responded. “Lol, I highly doubt I’m psychic but thanks. It’s a busy but productive day as well.”

The date is supposed to happen on Saturday. We’re supposed to meet for a drink. It’s Thursday and there is some small talk texts leading up to it. I want to keep the embers glowing until we meet. We chat about our days, and what shows we’re watching. I ask her if she is a beer, wine or a cocktail girl. This way I can gauge where we should meet. She says she’s a beer girl. Then she says she doesn’t really like alcohol and then says: “What about you?” I tell her I enjoy an occasional drink socially. (A bold-faced lie) I ask her if she’d rather meet for brunch instead of a drink on Saturday.

She chooses brunch. I ask her if she has any dietary concerns. She says no, but she is a really unhealthy but picky eater, and thanks me for asking and do I have any. I tell her I can eat anything. So I ask her if she has any preferences. She loves seafood and breakfast food. That sounds perfectly fine to me. I thought of several places I could take her, but went with my go to: Square 1682. The staff knows me. The food’s great, and the service is on point. She can have seafood or breakfast food and so can I.

Friday I text her a “Happy Friday” meme around 5pm. I tell her I look forward to meeting her at Square 1682 for brunch Saturday at 2pm.

She replies: “Where is that at?” I wanted to reply: “I keep forgetting that I am the only one on Earth with iPhone technology because I came from the future, and I also don’t end my sentences with prepositions!” Of course I don’t.

But I do say: “Here, let me google that for you.” And send her a screenshot of Square 1682’s webpage from my phone. She thanks me like nothing happened, because to her, technically nothing did. She closes with: “I’m looking forward to meeting you too.” (Redeemed)

So far just texting her, I like this chick. I’m really looking forward to meeting her Saturday. She seems really sweet. I just pray that she isn’t just meeting with me for free food and drinks. I mean, that could happen. It’s happened before. She is a student. But she has youth and beauty, and as I’m finding out about myself, I’m bored with anything else. She fits the criteria. Young. Attractive. Slender. She seems intelligent. Articulate. Good communication skills for the most part. Likes scary movies and thrillers. Getting her education. Works two jobs. What could go wrong?

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish Monday through Friday at 8am EST.

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Antonia – Possibly a Mob Front?

“The square shaped balding man burst through the kitchen door with two glasses of water for us, and in a very loud and deep voice, he explained that it was his birthday, and we would eat what he felt like making us.”

Well, this one time I took my friend Antonia to dinner at (what seemed to be) a front for some type of illicit activity.

She had just moved to a new area, and we wanted to check out the local shops and restaurants. While we were wandering, we stumbled into a tiny Italian place. Back home, the small hole-in-the-wall restaurants always have the best food, so we were excited to give it a shot. Big curtains were covering the entry windows, so we had no idea what was inside until we trudged through the door.

Inside, we were met with emptiness and silence. We both immediately thought the place was closed, and I spun around and searched for the store hours posted somewhere on the door. While I was looking, we heard a heavy THUD as a young woman barked “I’ll be right with you!”

She appeared, greeted us confusingly, and asked us ‘what she could do for us’. Which, looking back, is probably a red flag. But we were naive and hungry, so we said we were there for dinner. She looked puzzled but motioned us to follow her to a booth right by the entrance.

She then disappeared into the back, and we heard a muffled conversation between our hostess and a man. The consensus was basically they were not prepared for us or didn’t know how to proceed. I asked my date if she wanted to split, but she insisted we stay for the story.

The square shaped balding man burst through the kitchen door with two glasses of water for us, and in a very loud and deep voice, he explained that it was his birthday, and we would eat what he felt like making us. We whole-heartedly agreed.

We waited around thirty minutes, and he again returned with three large bowls of spaghetti and meat sauce. He placed two bowls in front of us, and one next to me for himself. He sat with us and ate. We had light and awkward conversation with him during, and he kept asking us jokingly if we were cops or with the health board. He was incredibly nervous about us, so my date kept cracking corny puns or awful jokes because he would forcibly laugh at anything designed with humor. We talked about our lives, the cities we’ve lived in, our pets (he had a teacup Chihuahua named Princess) and his wife.

He decided we were good people and didn’t charge us for the meal. We wished him a happy birthday, he hugged us, and we went on our way. Easily the best spaghetti I’ve ever had in my life. The restaurant, unfortunately, no longer exists.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish Monday through Friday at 8am EST.

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