There are two transitions in the day when drinking occurs. One of them is “The Hour”, which Bernard DeVoto so eloquently detailed about the happenings of six o’clock. Another transtion in the day that has a connection with drinking is what happens after late-night drinking. Not quite after the last drop is gone, but in the next hour or so following it.
Let’s set the scenario: You get clean/spiffy/appropriate at home before heading out with spouse/significant other/brohams/wingwomen. You head to a neighborhood spot/Da Club/hotspot and get it in, having a most glorious and congenial evening. It’s at the point where the heels of the people in your group near the threshold of the establishment that someone asks the prescient question….
"You all wanna go grab something to eat?" *sound of the angels singing*
The main point of that question is on the surface quite easy to figure out — the person is hungry and wants to grab a bite to eat. But if the time is 2am, 3am, 4am, or even later, who is thinking about their sustenance & nutrition? No one! Which is precisely why I’ve argued that the point of going out to eat after drinking is not to eat, but “to extend the night.” Who cares about rushing home to brush their teeth or hang up their slacks? We want to spend a bit more time with our best buds & favorite people, and what better way to do that, if we can’t drink, than by sharing some food?
Hummus and pita will have to wait for another meal. The main approach to “soaking it up” post-quaff is to get fat into your system, as it slows your body’s absorption of alcohol. Anyone can return home to a bag of chips. But after a night of quaffing mint juleps, why not go, or return to The Brown Hotel for a Hot Brown? After all, it was CREATED for fourthmeal — what food can say that? Isn’t it always nicer to go to an authentic place, a “one of one” instead of a corporate rehash? If the Brown is a bit too posh for your t-shirt wearing brigade, why not go to your favorite late-night restaurant or diner? At Tempo in Chicago, Sip-n-Bite in Baltimore, Chau Chow in Boston, or House of Pie in Los Angeles, everyone has times that resemble Schrevie, Boogie, and the guys. That McDonald’s or Burger King might beckon, but you can spend time with them during the day — why not head to White Castle, that family-owned bastion of sliders? Or go with the “tree theory” at your fave pizza window and throw three oil-laden slices on a separate plate and nosh while taking in the scenery. Nothing is funnier than the street talk that emanates from people post-clubbing. Add a Maxwell Street polish sausage or a Philly cheesesteak with Cheez Whiz and you’ve got yourself live television in HD!
People sharing stories, serendipitous conversations about who-knows-what, trying to see if you can make that quick couple of minutes turn into something special — it all resembles a fine drinking place, probably the one that got us at our favorite eatery in the first place. Stay congenial!