When I lived in Century City, I had a ritual. Six in the evening rolled around and I stopped what I was doing, poured myself a gin martini (two olives, two jalapeno peppers, splash of vermouth, extra cold) and I lifted off into a world of my own.
Rarely did I leave the house to have my one cherished (stiff) drink. Quite honestly, it was too much of a hassle to get in my car, go to a bar/restaurant, then drive back home. Especially during the week.
Yes, at times meeting a friend motivated me to put on some lipstick and go smooze at a fun place, but not often. I really didn't do that.
Basically I'd unwind solo, then go back to my work.
Well, BADA-BING. BADA-BANG.
I now live downtown. And I can walk to happy hours. And I do. And I have.
Should I say I am in gin heaven? Sure, why not? But what I'm really finding out is that I relish the people that I meet and talk to - from the welcoming bartenders to the friendly patrons. And that is my real stress reliever. It's not the gin.
(Boy, I am sure Oprah could do wonders with that insight.)
Now, as often as I can (which is pretty often), I walk to have my one nightly drink. My favorite place is The Far Bar on First Street. Nestled between two buildings in Little Tokyo, it's a real find. I also like Pete's for its "neighborhoody" feel and the staff treats me as if they know me (well, I guess they do!). I used to like Origami on 3rd & Spring for $3 Martini Mondays, but the bartender left and a new one has come, and yuck. Wokcano on 7th & Flower is delicious, and I could go on.
But I think you get the point. For me it is no longer about just having my martini - it's about hearing the laughter, finding out about the stories, both the sad and hilarious, and about meeting the people behind them.
Living in a city with a voice and a sense of community.
By eight or so, I'm back in my loft. Ready to work or dream or ponder about whatever I damn well please. Sometimes I even do a little dance.