Dining » Food & Drink

Club 'Cello

Nik's Wine Bar, 307 Belt Avenue, 314-454-0403


During the first week of September, at least one DeBaliviere-area cicada crawled out of bed at exactly 5:23 p.m., stretched her wings, then rubbed them with lotion. She dragged her sorry ass to the bathroom sink, gargled glass, then sprayed WD-40 on the back of her ragged throat. Thirteen years burrowed deep underground for this? Feeling a little better but still combating the tedium of existence, this cicada -- one of many little creatures living invisibly among us -- sashayed to the kitchen on her way to yet another hard day's dusk. She pounded a triple shot of espresso, chased it with a big mug of dew (because the bugs, like nymphs, feed almost solely on water), did a few lines of crystal meth, took a very cold shower, ate a spoonful of sugar, smoked some crack, read the latest Iraq headlines, gagged, then swallowed a roll of sandpaper. By 5:40 she and her countless cicada conspirators were at their stations, roaring, breathing, roaring, gasping, panting, screeeeching, screeeeching, their lungs stretched like balloons, their eyes drenched with tears: "Nooooo! Nooooo! Nooooo!" The lucky humans seated outdoors at Nik's Wine Bar, enjoying the siren's call of the sexy cicadas, could only counter their denial with an equally convincing rebuttal on this perfect early-fall evening: "Yes! Yes! Yes!"

Affirmations have been the call of the Humans around Nik's Wine Bar since former owners Nik and Steph opened the joint in 1997; they sold this past year and zipped to the Southwest, and the winner on the other end, beside the bar's legion of regulars, is new proprietor Curt Newsome. Nik's still offers the three-ring-binder of booze, and within it you'll find the drinks that have made the joint a destination for countless handsome people. They've got a lot: martinis, margaritas and other cocktails, wines (of course), single-malts, beers, ports and many other varieties of alcohol, and a basic dinner menu (which includes an ace pesto pasta).

In sympathy with the cicadas, Drink of the Week opted for some lemony, good-for-the-vocal-cords action. Specifically, the Club 'Cello, a fresh, late-summery cocktail consisting of the exquisite Lemoncello, an Italian lemon liqueur, infused with the juice of a lemon, mixed with club soda and served with, yes, a lemon wedge. In the immortal words of Pee Wee Herman: "Mmmm, lemony."

It's sweeter than a glass of lemonade and more closely resembles your basic Italian soda, one of Mother Nature's greatest magic tricks. The 'Cello is perfect for the season; a light taste of sweet/sour won't konk you out the way some cocktails do, won't push your head into drunkenness too quickly. Drink it while you enjoy the sounds of the Hothouse Sessions, who gig at Nik's every Friday, and when you do, hoist a glass for Hothousers Chris and Alexis, recently wed. Sing a song of joy for the fall, for eternal love, for death and rejuvenation, for cocoons and all things patient and latent, for creatures that, when they finally have a chance to experience this life, do nothing but wail for its duration.

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