Town & Country Lounge, Mayflower Hotel, Downtown

I don’t know as much about cocktails as I do beer and wine, but I sure know a good party when I see one, and last Thursday night at Town and Country? Look out!

At around 8 PM, this place was packed. Among other dignitaries? Bill O’Leary, photographer from the Washington Post, who was there taking these pictures of legendary bartender Sambonn “Sam” Lek, whose long tenure at Town & Country was to end with its closure in a couple of days (Lek will be working as an interim bartender at the Mayflower, by the way, so it’s not quite like saying “goodbye.”)

I’d read about his Sidecar ($12.95) here, but he was just so darned busy with the adoring crowds that I couldn’t get his attention, so I ordered one from the other gentleman working behind the bar. I was perfectly content just to stand against the railing, sip my drink, and watch the party, with a good 30-40 people crowding around the bar, and every table in the lounge full. Lek was playing up to his clientele, doing magic tricks, posing for pictures, and just having a good time.

When the bar started to thin out close to 9 PM, I grabbed a seat at the bar, caught Lek’s eye, and ordered the same drink from him. The differences on the palate were twofold: the first drink had a lime; the second had a lemon, and Lek’s somehow had more supporting acidity.

Although it’s sad that Town & Country is now gone, this particular evening was nothing but a celebration, and I’m willing to bet the next one was, too.

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