DOWN THE HATCH: Bar-hopping on a Sunday Night

Firefly wins for best end-of-weekend relaxation

Maria Phelan

I don't normally go out on Sunday nights, since I don't usually want to make Monday mornings any worse than they already are. But a while back, my friend Sarah and I decided to take advantage of a long holiday weekend and head out on a Sunday night. The only problem? We had no idea where to go. But we did know we wanted to hit a bar that would be lively, so we decided to try the Monte Carlo Brew Pub. Sarah had never been there, and I'd only been once, but I liked the beer and the long bar that snakes its way through the building. Unfortunately, when we got there, a lounge-act-type band was playing, which wasn't quite the vibe we were going for, so we decided to try our luck at the Venetian.

Lamenting the fact that Jack's Velvet Lounge is closed, we headed to the V Bar for a couple of dirty martinis and hip atmosphere. I was surprised to find the normally packed bar nearly empty, but we decided to stay and have a couple of drinks while we decided where to go next. After getting our martinis, which were delicious (it can be hard to find a well-balanced dirty martini), our bartender told us the bar is usually a lot busier on Sundays, and that he also was a little surprised there weren't more people. The emptiness turned out to be a good thing, though, because we took the opportunity to start thinking about St. Patrick's Day. By the time our second round arrived, we had goofy green outfits planned and a list of friends to bring along on our St. Pat's adventure.

When we left the V Bar, we stopped by the Venetian's Grand Lux Cafe for an order of bruschetta, and to call our friend Chris and see what he was up to. He and some friends had gone to The Beach, and since I'd never been there, we headed over to meet them. When we got to there, much like every other place we'd been to that night, it was dead. But when we found Chris, he was stupid drunk and kept pulling Sarah and I out on the dance floor to try to salsa, which was hilarious since he was barely standing upright. After about a half hour at The Beach, we took Chris home and gave up on our quest for a happening Sunday night. But we just knew there had to be a good Sunday night bar out there, and we'd find it.

Still on our mission the following weekend, Sarah, Jessica and I headed out again. This time we decided to skip the casinos altogether and headed to Firefly, a cool little tapas restaurant and bar on Paradise Road. I had been there twice, and it was never anywhere near full, but it has a good vibe, and the margaritas and sangria are excellent, not to mention the tasty tapas—selections of small dishes traditionally served in Spanish bars. When we got there, we were happy to find it about half full with a pretty lively crowd and a guitarist playing in one corner.

Since we were all considering glasses of red sangria, the bartender talked us into getting a pitcher, a great idea since the three of us ended up with about two glasses each. The other people at the bar were friendly, the guitarist added the perfect touch, and we wound up having a funny conversation about our worst hangovers. Things were great until two guys pushed up next to us. One was practically breaking his neck trying to check us out. I actually caught him bending over to glance at my legs under the bar, which was pretty creepy. They kept pushing in closer and closer and blowing cigarette smoke at Sarah, so after I finished a last glass of white sangria (which was also good, but I think the red was my favorite) we decided to head out. But Firefly has a great atmosphere, and the three of us agreed that its mix of lively and laid-back made it a great spot, even on a Sunday.

Maria Phelan sets a new bar for drinking. E-mail her your favorite watering hole at [email protected]

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