Bars fit neatly into two categories: TV-ed and TV-less. The latter type makes a simple statement: No. You're going to have to pay attention to the person sitting across from you while you're here, however uncomfortable that may be. If you're alone, you've got no respite from that truth, no distractions. You are alone in a bar. Stare at the wall, lost in your own thoughts; contemplate pi. Make a grocery list. Take a mental snapshot, then resolve to remember the image for the rest of your life (it works). There are no TVs here, so you can relax and focus.
Within the first category, though, are many subsets: one TV tucked in a corner, visible only to those sitting at the bar itself; one in each corner so with the simple turn of your head, an image is ready, and willing to envelop your consciousness; a dozen attached to every wall, hanging from ceilings, the collection of which creates a barrage of restless, frenetic energy -- images of movement, minus actual movement.
The bar at Café Eau has a half-dozen TV sets, but they're way, way up high above the U-shaped marble bar. Way up high. So high that if you've never been here before and you're lost in your own little world when you walk in from the lobby of the Chase Park Plaza Hotel, you're liable to miss them entirely as you make a beeline for a stool.
All you know is: You're in a room; it's quiet and elegant, a very well-designed space. Phew. OK. Wind-down time. Let's get lost. You order an Oasis martini, the creation of Tuesday-night bartender Bradon Parsons. It's made with equal parts Fruja mango liqueur, island-blue Pucker liqueur, sour-apple Pucker liqueur, sweet-and-sour schnapps and Absolut Mandarin vodka. When mixed, it's kryptonite green. Looks and sounds kind of gross, you say, like a girly drink. But it's not -- though, as Parsons acknowledges, you probably won't want more than one. Drink some, get puckered, and within a few minutes your eardrums register a high-frequency whine. Wait a minute. You know that sound ... but no, there are no TVs here. Drink more. Pull the lime, orange and cherry off the green plastic skewer, eat the cherry, then knot the cherry stem with your tongue and blow it from your mouth into the Oasis. (Nice shot.)
That guy over there is looking straight up, dumbfounded, as though a safe is on the verge of falling on him. There's a glow in his eyes. Hold on. That high-pitched whine. The glow. The whine. The absence of thought in his eyes. He's watching a TV. Look up, straight up, and there it is, broadcasting baseball due north of your noggin. And with that newfound knowledge, the Oasis (a presence within an absence) -- and the world you knew -- has vanished.