The Morning-After Ill

When a bartender is this excited, nothing else matters.
photo: Cary Conover

On a mission to retrieve a houseguest we misplaced the night before in Alphabet City, we hit up Felix (340 West Broadway), a French bistro where revelry upsurges from an interesting amalgam of soccer fans and hipper-than-thou girls, all united under a common goal—chasing away the Sunday-morning woozies with a boozy brunch. There she was, saddled up at the bar with a tumbler brimming with Cachaça, the national spirit of Brazil, made from fermented sugarcane juice. Funny—in her most disheveled moment, our friend perfectly embodied her surroundings: Her hello was more like a tackle than an embrace, and she had that authentic bed-head look accompanied by a black top-skinny jeans ensemble that screamed, "I'm still wearing my clothes from last night."

A Brazilian flag and foosball table ushered us into the tin-ceilinged room, where bar towels and the obligatory French posters adorned the walls. An afternoon breeze floated through the surrounding open glass doors, stirring cocktail napkins next to Caipirinhas, a drink that has migrated from its Copacabana Beach popularity to a favorite among the international set. Staying true to classic, we ordered Bloody Marys ($10), hoping they'd be the panacea for our morning-after blues.

The carefree bartender joined in the party, grinning as he mixed our bloody elixirs after giving a final stir to pitchers of mojitos suddenly whisked away to a nearby table, where well-imbibed dudes divvied up their bounty and laughed—that is, until one of them caught an immediate buzzkill when he saw the check: "Mojito pitchers are $60 each?" So much for buying in bulk. To our right, a chick set had hit the mascara a little hard for brunch, while two brunettes sported sunglasses and sipped mimosas like a posse of B-list celebs pretending to evade the paparazzi. Despite our own liquidating funds, we edged away from a craggy fellow eager to whip out some Benjamins and treat a couple of lovely ladies to an afternoon drink. Truthfully, every time we've been to Felix, there has been some washed-up sugar daddy sitting on the same exact stool, eyeing his prey. If only we didn't leave home without it—American Express, that is: It's the only card that Felix accepts. Perhaps sympathizing with our mad rush to the ATM, our waiteran amiable enabler in a grass-green World Cup T-shirt—surprised us with Bloody Marys on the house before we were even close to emptying our second round. Overwhelmed with our tomato-juice consumption, we checked out ASAP. The Felix crowd thought they were looking good now, but no one would be sitting pretty in the office on Monday.

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