Conviviality for grown-ups

At the bar at McCormick & Schmick’s, the view is of Congress. On Saturday night there’s excellent people-watching. The glass has some sort of coating so that passers-by don’t really see in. We were there for the sake of the oyster-lovers among us. Tired of Gulf oysters, they wanted to sample a variety. There was not a consensus. Blue Points and Malpeques vied for best. The brine and oyster liquor had not been washed out of the shells, a great plus. At one end of the bar was one football game; at the opposite end, another. The sound was off and the captions were on. Somebody was ordering flaming drinks composed in layers, so the bartender was making a great show. We didn’t see the dining room; full menu service is available in the bar. This is a chain, but the crowd was prosperous young Austin, mostly guys, not tourists, in not-cheap casual clothes. On the bar was a giant bowl of citrus fruits for drinks.

We met our visitors at the bar at the Mariott at the Capitol. The crowd was mostly masculine. There’s upholstered seating. There’s also seating at the bar itself, which is in the center of an area that’s not a separate room. This is a good place to rendez-vous because it’s close to the front door and everyone’s immediately visible. The front-door attendants don’t encourage vehicles to wait under the porte-cochere and urge them to move on or park in the attached garage. Some among us were actually staying at La Quinta on 11th Street, across from the Capitol grounds, but there isn’t what you’d call a lobby there.

The Marriott, along with the Driskill, by the way, is always a good place to find a cab.

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