“Baarrrtender,” slurs Spartos, “pour me anutha Guinness” ($5). And so goes another lonely, lamentable night at on-again, off-again Voice hang THE SCRATCHER (209 5th Street, 477-0030). Once the domain of the deadline cocktail, as well as countless we-never-acknowledged-your-existence -while-you-worked-here-but-keep-in-touch (uh, by the way, is it still open bar?) gatherings, the cozy basement cubbyhole is now passed over for more fleeting flavors of the month ($10 vodka mixes, anyone?), or worse yet, the after-work brew is nixed altogether. Sure, the Scratcher’s given to playing wanker bands like Oasis, but that’s almost part of the doesn’t-it-feel-like-we’re-in-a-foreign-country? fun. And as long as you luck out with one of the bloke bartenders, you’re guaranteed a buyback or two, a friendly gesture, and a rather nice time. (Oh, but beware the surly lassie in pigtails who reads books at the end of the bar oblivious to the thirsty patrons! She never bought us a beer once!) All of which leads Spartos to wonder why she entered this godforsaken trade in the first place. “Where’s my quick-witted Boy Friday?” demands Spartos. “And where’s my martini?”
At New York Post hangout LANGAN’S (150 West 47th Street, 869-5482), Spartos has to yell over Madonna. Tonight, she’s brought along Libertarian Pal, and although she feels his politics are better left to aging MTV VJs, he has promised to introduce her to hard-drinking reactionary columnist Steve Dunleavy. What Spartos had planned to do at that point (wring his neck? Invite him to do kamikaze shots?) was ill planned, but now it’s of no consequence, since the man’s MIA. Her consolation prize is the glass etching of his likeness that watches over his stool. Which makes Spartos both a little jealous and a little wistful. Someday, when she is all grown up—a tough-as-nails syndicated columnist—some classy midtown bar will honor her, too! In the meantime, she’s got a lot of drinking to do, including pints of Bass ($5.50), bottles of Bud ($4.50), and finally, milky-green shots of what the baby-faced bartender innocently calls Martian’s Cum (Bailey’s Irish Cream, crème de menthe, and butterscotch liquor; $6). Hence, Spartos’s smashed state and current shouting match with Libertarian Pal, who’s unsuccessfully preaching the tenets of objectivism to the tune of “Lucky Star.” “What’d you say?!” yells Spartos. “Who is Joe Dirt?!”
Having kicked it up a notch at Langan’s, Spartos hopes to inspire her fellow Voice employees, by standing near the soda machine loudly exclaiming things like “Can those Post people drink!” Some of her colleagues still do not see the rather obvious connection between drunken idiocy and journalistic stardom. So the following evening, unfazed, she bulldozes her way to boho CAFÉ LOUP (105 West 13th Street, AL5-4746), where Vanity Fair/Nation scribe Chris Hitchens is known to kick back a few. And lo and behold, there he is, highball in hand! Unfortunately, he’s headed for the door, so while Anarchist Love Interest compliments his work, Spartos scores his seat. She will soak up the glamour, the house red wine ($5-$6), and the adoration of Anarchist Love Interest and urban straphangers everywhere through osmosis! “To junalisssmm!” cheers Spartos.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 2, 2001