We've always wanted to own a bar. Not own and operate it, mind you — that seems like entirely too much work — just own it. Or hold the job of whomever it is who gets to name the place. We'd like to be that guy. An old college roommate came up with one of the best suggestions for a bar name we've ever heard: McThirsty's. We thought it was brilliant. A quick Google search revealed, sadly, that a handful of them already exist. There's McThirsty's Pub & Grub in Jackson, Michigan; McThirsty's Fish Tank in Peawaukee, Wisconsin; and even McThirsty's Pint in Peterborough, Ontario. So that dream's been put temporarily on hold.
Also about this time every year, we shift our focus to what it'd be like to name racehorses. On a freelance basis, perhaps. We're convinced that most people can't untangle the mess of stats on a racing form to guess which pony will win, place or show any more than Joe Customer gives a whit about tannins or residual sugar when he's at Dierbergs trying to figure out what wine goes best with barbecued chicken. Both ultimately make their decisions on how amusing the name is. So we'd hole up with a thesaurus (and booze, probably) and fire off pages of bettor-friendly equine names.
We've even researched it a bit: For example, we found that not one Triple Crown winner to date has had a "colorful" name. Big Brown, Silver Charm, Strike the Gold, Winning Colors, Flying Ebony, Black Gold, Wintergreen, Pink Star. Derby winners all, Triple Crown winners none.
We were reminded of these as-of-yet-unfulfilled dreams at Sky Music Lounge. After looking at the drink menu for some fifteen minutes (with no waitress in sight) we decide on a drink called "Paint the Earth." Because the Sky Music Lounge is, well, a music lounge, we assume that the drink is something of an homage to the local cover band of the same name. ("The Shrinking Violet" is another one.) Even in the low-lit space — the Sky Music Lounge is roughly the size and shape of a large, brick-enclosed gazebo — we can tell the drink is teal, the same color favored by promgoers in the early '90s. The orange slice straddles the rim cockeyed, like an awkwardly applied corsage. The Paint the Earth is deceptively strong: The Bacardi and Malibu rums easily outperform the Blue Curacao and pineapple juice.
The band Groovethang is playing a night of Steely Dan songs, and on our second Paint the Earth, we have an epiphany: Someone should open a Steely Dan-themed bar, and we'll name the drinks. The Green Earring, Deacon Blue Curacao, the Crimson Tide, the Black Friday. Surely this is an untapped market? We'll Google it when we get home.
The band then eases into a few Michael McDonald songs and we cast a sidelong glance at Mr. Drink of the Week. As a general rule, he can't stand McDonald's warbly strains (though his impression of the hometown Doob is hilarious). But as Groovethang launches into "What a Fool Believes," he looks at us and says, "This is actually a pretty good song." Well. Color us astonished.
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