It was a long day at the office. It was late. I had nothing to do and no one to do it with. My usual date was unavailable.
“Work,” she said.
I went for a walk through the Old Town. I needed a drink.
Then, I heard music. Jazz.
Coming from Tretter’s New York Bar.
“Empty,” I thought. “Perfect.”
Usually, cool-crowd Czechs, men and women with plenty of cash, fill the place. It also pulls in the international business set. You'll see assorted tourists and poseurs.
I'm not there for the people.
I walked in and took a stool at the bar. I watched the "mixologists" do their thing. One came by right away.
It was cold and tart and sweet. The drink went down fast. They take 170 CZK of your money for one, but I had no regrets. Not tonight.
His job, family background, and love life sounded so improbable that I decided to believe him. I wish I could tell you the details, but I can't. And it's not because I don't remember.
My plan for one drink was evaporating rapidly. I decided to make a switch.
“Vodka or gin?”
I squeezed the lime wedge, tossed it aside, and took a sip. A good gimlet. The sour and sweet taste I wanted, without the blast of extra sugar in the mojitos.
Petr ordered a Flaming Lamborghini. An evil concoction, really.
A barman in a long white coat mixed ouzo and Cointreau in a martini glass. Beside it, he set a shot of Bailey’s and a shot of blue curaçao. Then, he held a lit match to the top of the martini glass, but it failed to ignite. He added more liquor, but still no flame. Then, he gave up.
Next, Petr picked up a straw and sucked down the contents of the glass as the barman poured both shots into it.
“Would you like one?” Petr asked. “I’m paying.”
Shortly afterward, the two friends moved on. Petr's text messages would not stop. He had people to see. He paid their 2000 CZK tab and they were out the door.
I hadn’t noticed, but the bar had filled up. Not crowded, but not bad business for a Tuesday night.
I started listening to the jazz trio that pulled me in to the place -- guitar, electric bass, and drums. Good singer. Good song selection. A nice jazzed up version of "Here, There, and Everywhere." Good.
I looked at my watch. Time to go. One mojito and three gimlets at 135 CZK per, and I'm 575 CZK lighter.
No problem. I knew the rules. I knew where I was: Mr. Tretter's version of New York in Prague.
Tretter's New York Bar
(AKA Tretter's Cocktail Bar)
V kolkovně 3
Tel. (+420) 224 811 165