Lemon drop, buttery nipple, kamikaze, mind eraser. Three wise men. Cement mixer, prairie fire, lunch box, purple hooter. Tequila. Jäger bomb. Rumple Minze. These are all shots Maria won't make or pour for you at Seamus McDaniels in Dogtown, even though she's here on most nights and is really very accommodating. Short, thin and bespectacled, Maria's probably too young to be your mom (if you're of legal drinking age) and is probably too old to be your sister. But she's a fiery hybrid of the two she's usually got dirt to dish, but it's never malicious and she's a spectacular bartender independent of the fact you'll have to go somewhere else for your Liquid Cocaine (Seamus has a no-shot policy). Or perhaps even because of it.
We're sitting at the bar, groaning with every out that puts Boston closer to winning the World Series. We watched much of last year's post-season upon these stools. The flat-screen television suspended over the bar has about a three-second delay compared with the television in the dining room. Think baseball games take too long? Watch one up at the bar and listen to the cheers or groans coming from those seated back in the dining area before the pitcher you're watching has even pitched and you'll come to appreciate the difference those few seconds make. On this night, though, there aren't any cheers rising from the bar or anywhere else, as Boston continues to dominate.
We ask Maria about Seamus' seasonal Samuel Adams Octoberfest, and instead of answering, she grabs a glass and pours us a sample. Right away we know it'll be worthy of a pint, because if it wasn't she'd say so, which is why we'd drink pretty much whatever she'd put in front of us. Samuel Adams' Octoberfest beer is a coppery auburn, the color of leaves before they turn a dead brown and drop to the ground for good. And for a darker-hued beer, it's not as imposing as it looks. It's got an earthy, toasted, fall-like aroma how we imagine pumpkin patches would smell if it weren't for farm animals' manure and is easier to drink than say, Shiner Bock. We realize we committed an ethical faux pas by drinking a Boston lager as we pull for a Colorado comeback, but Maria's once again recommended something worth ordering before it's retired in early December.
Maria goes on to tell us she's moved back to Dogtown, having bought a home from a guy she briefly dated. He dropped the price some $20,000 when he found out she was interested in the house. "That's $10,000 a date!" she says. And though it suddenly makes our tip seem inadequate, we're totally impressed.
Dogtown's no longer our neighborhood, but we still feel a certain familial warmth and look forward to moving back someday. In the meantime, we leave Maria (who's not our mom or sister) and walk over to Pat's Bar and Grill, where we will be entertained by Uncle Mick (who's not our uncle), as he makes matchsticks change color and coins miraculously disappear right before our incredulous, childlike eyes.