Cabo Wabo, recall, is the Red Rocker's tequila. Sammy Hagar, the dude who ruined Van Halen. Hagar, who will forever be linked with his genius song, "Cruisin' and Boozin'," which teaches a valuable lesson to impressionable dumbasses learning both to drive and to rock.
"Someday, I'm gonna beat this race, be on top -- you'll see. Step myself out across that line and be anything I wanna be. But right now everything's all right out here in the streets. We've got JD in the back seat -- we drink nothin' but the best. Pop a buck in the gas tank; we drink up the rest.... Cruisin' and boozin'! Trying to have a good time. That's right, baby! Cruisin' and boozin' out with some friends of mine."
The song, recorded in 1977, transcends time and speaks to the youthful idiots of today just as it spoke to a generation of mulletheads back then. We drink. We drive. We endanger others with our shenanigans. We have fun.
Magee's isn't a Hagar bar. Those are in south county. But it is a rock & roll bar, and it's owned by Jake's Leg guitarist Randy Gibbs. The Leg has been covering Grateful Dead songs for two decades now, and the band was one of the first to devote nearly its entire repertoire to the music of the San Francisco noodlers. And for this, depending on your tolerance for never-ending guitar solos, the Leg either deserves banishment or kudos.
Magee's was banished once, in fact -- by the Catholics. The bar was originally known as 20 North and was located on Vandeventer Avenue. Saint Louis University owned the property and gave the bar the boot in order to provide more parking for students. Deadheads were none too happy at the time. But all worked out for the best. Magee's is a superior bar in a superior location, tucked just south of Barnes-Jewish. Of course, it's probably only a matter of time before Barnes creeps southward and once again threatens the Leg, but until then we can drink our Cabo Wabo and whoop it up with the Deadheads.
Cabo Wabo offers three tequilas. The blanco is bottled directly after distilling; the reposado is "rested" and ages in oak barrels for three to twelve months; the anejo is aged from one to five years. Magee's sells the reposado, a sturdy, clean tequila that's as good as Patron's reposado. You can shoot or sip tequila, depending on the occasion. On our most recent visit, we sipped. Sipping brings out the subtleties that vanish if you inelegantly dump the liquid into your boozehole. Sipping brings your nose, and along with it the flavor, into the equation. Sipping turns tequila into gold. And unlike with high-end vodkas, you can actually taste the difference between a $15 dollar bottle and a $50 bottle.
Better tequilas don't punch you in the gullet. Rather, they caress the tongue and open to reveal themselves moments after swallowing. And sipping leaves you less prone to getting way too drunk for your own good. At which point you call a cab, dumbass. You don't booze, then cruise. But if you must, remember: Keep to the right and stay between the lines.