Adult Beverages

There's alcohol in the Wilfair world, which is not surprising, given that it is centered around a hotel, but no one really drinks.

Most of the characters will soon be of legal drinking age in "Wilfair." Having them not drink, at least within the windows of these stories, when there is alcohol in the vicinity, seemed like the right choice for this little universe and for who they are.

Not that they won't ever imbibe, but just not now. 

(The truth is I'm a bit of a cocktail maven. I regularly write about bars, restaurants, and specialty drinks for my job, and I'm mad about vintage-style and tiki concoctions, complete with little umbrella and pineapple spear. The fancier and fussier the libation, the more I'm apt to like it.)

As for the books? Prior Yates does drink, but he's of legal age to do so. His drink: The Prior Yates, of course, with its candy and its bourbon and its egg foam. (I haven't made one yet, if you're wondering. Well, a proper one, anyway. But my talented-in-the-kitchen husband has offered. If it happens, I will take photos.)

Sutton Von Hunt asks Fair if she can order a beer (I think she does so in both "Wilfair" and "Redwoodian," but definitely "Redwoodian"). Fair declines, since it is her restaurant and bar they sit in, and she can't and won't serve a minor, even a minor who happens to be her best friend. Sutton also does it just to stir things up a bit for her beloved old child, I think.

Fair Finley isn't a drinker. She's grown up around alcohol her whole life. The Wilfair is known for its mimosas, which are made with the fruit from the citrus topiaries between the Fairwil and Wilfair. Alcohol isn't all that exotic to our young hotelier. But Fair will be 21 in a year, and I do think she'll occasionally enjoy something refreshing like a Cape Cod. I can see Fair being a hot toddy fan down the road.

Thurs Mathers might abstain. He's also over 21. The hotel heir is private and he's always involved in something, so he has no relaxing downtime. He also owns a few wineries, too, which complicates him a bit in my mind on the does-he-drink-or-not front. Which he probably would love to know.

The Overbove cousins, as mentioned in "Redwoodian," deal with frequent partiers at the motel. They clean up a lot of party cups and minis and big bottles of booze from the rooms and pool deck. The guys also throw the occasional drunk skinnydipper out of the pool. It has de-glamorized hardcore, over-the-top partying for them both, definitely. Not fun party time, but, like, party time that crosses that line.

But Monty and Gomery are both very nearly 21. I can see them both being reasonable imbibers when they hit their legal-age birthdays. Sometimes I wonder if Monty doesn't enjoy a brewski or two with his film student friends when one of their microbudget movies wraps for the day, but he hasn't told me. He knows I'm a pretty law-abiding writer, in general, and something of a square, so I try not to put my nose in his business.

Monty's drink will be some fairly pricey, old Hollywood cocktail, something an old-time movie star drank. A manly man's drink, amber of hue and clinking with artisan ice cubes. He will brag about this being "his drink" far and wide and when a bartender doesn't know how to make it he will patiently explain all the steps.

Gomery'll be craft beer all the way. IPAs. (He might venture beyond beer, on occasion, and make for the spirit world.)

There's a real pub down the street from Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue called Tom Bergin's Tavern. It's charming as all get-out inside, dark and cozy and woodsy with the snuggest of cuddle-up booths. It is very famous for Irish coffee, too.

When I drive by it I sometimes picture our Wilfair people inside it, when they're a little older.

(If you're curious as to what's covering the ceiling, those are small shamrocks bearing regulars' names. It's truly a neighborhood hangout, warm and cheerful and older. Well, older for LA, which means it was probably built around the same time as The Wilfair Hotel. Perhaps the builders who built The Wilfair caught some after-work beers here, back in the day.)

(Wowza -- Tom Bergin's was built in 1936, same year as The Wilfair. Now that I actually did not know. Perhaps there's something highly 1936-y about that corner.)

cr: Tom Bergin's Tavern


Amanda W said...

Yes! I can totally picture the gang -- possibly plus one or two extras occasionally -- camped out in this pub having the mostly nonsensical-but-sometimes-profound
kind of converstaions that young 20-somethings tend to have. And I completely agree with your signature drink choices. I'm seeing Thurs as the occasional wine drinker and maybe one of those Irish coffees...mmm...

Wilfair Book said...

Agree. It would an excellent and walkable hangout for our peeps, beyond the tar pits, the art museum, and Farmers Market. A more adult hangout.

I can agree with you on Thurs and wine. I hope he reveals a bit more about himself. I need to know.

The Irish coffees at this tavern are VERY tasty. Sometimes I crave them on the hottest of LA days, strangely. But it is always dark and cool inside Tom Bergin's, so it doesn't feel odd to enjoy one.

Wilfair Book said...

I should add that both the museum and Farmers Market have great bars, too, so they qualify as adult hangouts. The tar pits do not have a bar (though maybe that might be fun for them; at least three tar-themed drinks pop into my mind).

The center Farmers Market bar is something of an unofficial hangout for British expats, too. So ladies (and men) of Los Angeles, if you're looking to meet lively British gentlemen, take note.

I'm not saying Sutton doesn't linger near there after work closes at the Farmers Market fruitcher shop and and I'm not saying she does.

bess said...

Fair's drink will need to have cherries in it! Maybe a Gin Fizz? It's old fashioned, yet fun and somewhat grown-up. Plus a cherry.

Gomery would be into homebrewing all the way. Science-y and surprising economical in the long run. Would there be anywhere to home brew at the motel?

Wilfair Book said...

Bess, a Gin Fizz! Yes. I actually picked a Cape Cod because it is the reddest cocktail I know.

Manhattans have a single cherry in 'em. That's a pretty hearty beverage, though. It took me some years to grow to like them (and I do). Not saying Fair can't, but, you know. Cherry isn't the predominant taste.

Home brewing! Coincidentally, I know two very talented homebrewers who live in the Wilshire-Fairfax vicinity. Maybe there's something in the slightly city-thick air 'round these parts?

That is a good question on the motel. We haven't fully entered the motel diner's kitchen yet, so perhaps there is space back there.

I think homebrewing fits our bespectacled aspiring architectural physicist to a tee. Gomery would probably enjoy thinking very complicated thoughts about the nature of hops vs. barley.

wealhtheow said...

Yes, I can't see Gomery NOT home-brewing.

I kind of see Thurs as a whiskey aficionado.

Kelly said...

Mmmmm cocktails. It's only 11.55am here and I'm kind of craving an Irish coffee now. I was actually already planning or making hot buttered rum or maybe mulled wine tonight, since there about 5 inches of snow outside and sitting around a fire with hot cocktails when it's freezing cold is one of my favourite things to do.

I also love a cocktail with a fun name. The Winchester in Islington does lovely cocktails, and my favourite is the Tequila Mockingbird, which has tequila, lime, flamed cinnamon and passion fruit.

Tom Bergins sounds great, please can we add it to the itinerary of the eventual Alysia-led walking tour of Wilfair locations!?

Wilfair Book said...

Tom Bergin's and Irish coffee is TOTALLY on the itinerary! If it is sunny, which it probably will be, we will need a little dark Hobbit hole to retreat to for a few minutes. Tom's qualifies.

So this is what happens when someone mentions a place, person, or thing in a comment. I immediately search out the web site and spend a happy few minutes looking around. Which I just did with the Winchester in Islington.

Not only does the Winchester have a stylish site -- love that cat and fireplace! -- but that is SOME drinks menu. I'm emailing it to my husband, who is quite the talented home mixologist. He is always up for interesting inspirations.

The cocktail with a "floating Jaffa cake"? Wow. Then I had to look up Jaffa cakes.

(Wilfair ladies, you definitely widen my world!)

By the by, the Nephew and Apple Pie sound right up my alley. When I was in England I don't know that I tried too many cocktails. I was so enchanted with beer being served at a warmer temperature than it is in the States that I stuck with pints.

Stay cozy today, Kelly!

Wilfair Book said...

Though I should add that I had some cold beer, too, in London. I think it depended on the pub, really.

I also enjoyed an excellent martini just north of Bristol. Memories.

Kelly said...

Ooh the Jaffa cake one is one of my favourites! The worst thing about the Winchester is that every time I go there I am completely distracted by the cocktail list and spend about 45 minutes trying to decide what to drink!

I'm not a huge beer drinker, but most of my friends are, and I know that they can be very particular about temperature, glass type, and the head of their beer. It definitely varies place to place, and often depends on the time of year since old pubs mostly serve beer at cellar temperature, which is unregulated. Some friends of mine at University always insisted we go to this one crummy little old pub because the beer there was just right!

Wilfair Book said...

I have friends like your friends! Whole conversations built around foam. I've really only become a beer fan in the last few years, but I stick to my likes a little too much.

Seriously, I'm about to ring up LA's pretty awesome British food shops and inquire about the Jaffa cake. I've been wanting a box of PG Tips around the house, so I need a shop visit anyway!

The words "cellar temperature," by the way, remind me that we ate lunch in a centuries-old sewer in London. I was quite taken with the experience.

Kelly said...

Definitely get some Jaffa cakes! Although I should warn you that (for me anyway) it is almost impossible to open a box of them and not finish the entire thing within a day. They're horribly moreish.

A friend of mine moved to New York recently, and every time anyone goes to visit her she insists they bring PG Tips, Marmite, and Dairy Milk chocolate. It's funny the little things you really miss when you're away from home.

Lunch in an old sewer sounds surreal and amazing! Do you remember where it was? My googling efforts have revealed lots of interesting facts about sewers but nowhere to have lunch in one!

Wilfair Book said...

Gordon's Wine Bar near Trafalgar Square. The sewer area we sat in is just one part of the bar, which is very nice and felt very local.

But my own Googling does not confirm it was a sewer; some sites say it is a reclaimed sewer, though, but some do not mention its sewer heritage.

A patron told us that when we visited, but I wonder if he wasn't pulling our legs. My leg is very pull-able!

Certainly it has that feel. So atmospheric.|2

Kelly said...

Ooh looks wonderful, going on my 'To Visit' list for sure.

Jamila said...

You need to come visit me and wealtheow in DC, and I will take you to PX. It's a swanky little speakeasy in Old Town Alexandria with an amazeballs cocktail menu -

Wilfair Book said...

I want to SO MUCH, Lady Jamila.

Do my DCers know that I lived there? Have we talked about that? For a summer. Interned for PBS headquarters in Alexandria.

I've reviewed the web site and decided I shall order the Purple Basil when we go. What's your PX drink?

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