Your writing is so observant and witty! I’m making a point to visit the Brandy Library, but I’m also making a point to second:
The hoops you have to jump to get into service at a well-reputed establishment. I thought it rather remarkable that most of my co-workers (I work at an upscale Italian Place in Boerum Hill on the weekends) were from either Texas or Minnasota (or upsate New York) with me and another bartender representing the West Coast (Nevada and California respectively)… but reading this puts our crew’s origins in context in the larger fabric of the city in which the balancing act between good service and the “line-you-cannot-cross” is really subtle. I think it does help to be an outsider in this context.
And: this story reminded me of a moment in 2006, when I’d stopped in a restuarant in midtown to say hello to former managers (I’d worked at the Russian Tea Room before they closed a second? Third time?) who’d opened their own bourgeois thing. (It is no longer a thing.) A stocky fellow in a form-fitting beige suit was sitting next to me at the bar, and he started telling me about the many different penthouses he had all over the city, asking me what I was studying, that sort of thing, when he moves in and proposes a Sugar-Baby-Daddy set-up. The barman must have registered the horror on my face because he promptly turned to this man and asked him to settle his tab.
It’s really wonderful to hear stories of another city spots that have our backs, whether we’re with our ladies or just trying to enjoy a night out. The Brandy room handled that man with such (italicize that) skill.