PATRICK MCVAY

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The Dirty Den

aububon bar

I don't drink a lot of martinis in bars, but when I do, I always order the same thing: dry Grey Goose martini, straight up, with olives. It's a clean, clear, cold drink, with a treat at the end: three pimento-filled olives to chew off a toothpick.

I had the occasion to order this very drink recently at a bar named Audubon, on Beacon Street near Fenway. My old friend Dave with was with me and ordered a dry Ketel One martini with a twist. His son Gus ordered a Cosmo, and I ordered a beer.

The waitress went off and soon returned, saying "I forgot what you ordered." I told her, "Orval." A beer. 

But soon I demurred. Why not have a martini, since Dave and Gus were drinking spirits in martini glasses. So I jumped up and found the waitress as she was typing our order: "Actually, I'll have a dry martini, Grey Goose, with olives," I say.

OK, what happens next is the God's honest truth: first, a drink is put before Dave, which is identified as the "Ketel One Martini," but clearly contains olives. Dave, as a non-olive consumer, says something along the lines of "I really don't like olives. I ordered my drink with a twist." So, as any good food establishment will do, they take his drink back. Meanwhile, my drink is put down, and I take a sip: this is a dirty martini, I'm thinking, not a dry martini. Before the waiter can leave, I alert him to this error: I just want a dry martini. Grey Goose. With olives. And then Dave reiterates: And I want a Ketel One martini, straight up, with a lemon twist.

Seems like the waiter understands. Sort of. Soon, he returns and puts down a martini with a very long, twisted lemon rind in front of Dave. Dave takes a sip and declares to me: this is a dirty martini. With a twist. This may be the very first dirty martini with a twist ever made by a "professional" bartender, and it's just befuddling. So, by now we've ordered zero dirty martinis, and have received three of them (assuming that the first martini delivered to Dave, which looked like it had a splash of olive juice in it, was dirty).

Dave decides he'll suffer through his dirty martini with a lemon twist.

It takes a little time for my martini to arrive, maybe another five minutes, and when it does it has olives on the side. Clearly, they are being careful here. But, when I take a sip, it's yet another dirty martini, packed with salty olive water, which to me is borderline gross.  

Not joking!

This is not a bar that's just learning the ropes. I've been going to Audubon for decades. It's like we were at a house party where the host makes up a pitcher of dirty martinis and you have no drink option except dirty martinis, or variations on that. ("Would you like your dirty martini with a twist?")

Moral of the story? Stick to beer. 

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