Bar Belle: From Meat to Rye

Why I should never be invited to dinner parties

Last Thursday was not my night. I believe I broke every rule in the “Drinking for Dummies” handbook, along with some others that have yet to be established. Have you ever awoken to that sick feeling (not caused by booze) that you did or said something wrong and that you should apologize immediately before checking for your wallet, your car and even whose bed you’re in? Yeah, that happened. And it’s how I’ve come up with the title of my next book: “From Meat to Rye: Why the Bar Belle Should Never Be Invited to Dinner Parties.”

It all started with the Back Door, where most of my sordid stories tend to begin. I’ve written about my standing Thursday happy hour there many times in these pages, and I’m proud to note that the mayor even joined our Unstable Table one evening during his campaign. I go to unwind, catch up with friends, and enjoy a stiff drink or two. So on Thursday, I ordered my usual gin and tonic and took my seat. This Thursday was different, though, because I had been invited to a girls’ night dinner party mostly with people I didn’t know. Of course I knew who invited me and one other person, but for the most part, it was going to be me and a bunch of strangers. And this made me nervous. So I decided a shot of tequila was a good idea. Followed by a beer.

Over the years, I’ve had to implement a self-imposed rule — no more than two mixed drinks at the Back Door in one sitting. Ask any of my exes, and they will confirm that more than two is the difference between Martha Stewart baking cookies and Britney Spears wielding an umbrella. But on this night, the nerves were exploding like kernels of corn on the stove, and saturating them with liquor was the only remedy.

Now I’m at said dinner party at Palermo and decide that a pitcher of sangria is the next logical step of the night. And you can go ahead and make that two pitchers, because I’m splitting it with my new friends, thank you very much. Unfortunately, to every one glass they have, I have two. And after every glass, I shamelessly plunge my fork in to scoop out the alcohol-soaked fruit (my favorite kind). I did get around to eating dinner, but I fear it was like Jodie Foster’s coming out speech: Way too late to matter and not substantial enough to make peace with Mel Gibson. It was a valiant try regardless, Clarice.

The evening progressed (with or without my sobriety), and our party ended up at Meat in Butchertown, the obvious choice for people who need more strong drinks. I scaled those stairs Jennifer Lawrence-style (love her!) and prayed for beef jerky in the snack jars. But then the bar caught my eye. This time it was bourbon, just because I hadn’t had enough variety in my night. And this is where the evening fades to black and everyone wakes up happily ever after. OK … well maybe not, but this is when my alter ego “Sara With an H” crashed the party and did and said things I’m still hearing about. Drunk texts? Check. A filibuster on dick jokes to an audience of straight girls? Check, check. A stop at Rye for their ’80s night? Check. Several hundred requests for Debbie Gibson to the DJ? Check squared. Fifty shades of ridiculous? Check divided by pi.

Luckily, I have responsible friends and City Scoot on speed dial, so I made it home safe, sound and tore up. The next day was hell as I dealt with not only the worst hangover of my life, but the regret and shame that came with making a total ass of myself. One would think I would have learned this lesson by now, but this girl broke her own Back Door rule and let the evening spiral out of control.

How can you and I avoid a situation like this in the future? For one, pick one type of liquor and stick to it. Don’t mix tequila and wine and bourbon and dick jokes. Pace yourself. Eat a decent meal. Realize that it’s a weeknight and you have to work the next day. Accept that alcohol doesn’t cure nervousness, it just makes you tell the same fifth-grade shart story over and over.

“Sara With an H” has been banished from the Louisville bar scene. I hope.

Drunk Texts of the Week
• Ive had fishy waffles
• There’s a fine line between hot stove and soul mate
• Tinkle Tinkle little star

Send your drunk texts to [email protected]. My blog is at Word.