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From an old website, Alien in Montreal

It's easy to write nastily about Stogie's, for a number of different reasons.

Upon entering we were pounced upon by the 'welcome lady' who had made an appearance earlier in the evening, trying to make us choose Stogie's or London Pub rather than the Ice Bar Lounge. She led us into the lounge and asked us questions like, 'How many people?' and 'Is this table okay for you?' Which, under normal circumstances, would be fine, but the bar was deserted.

We look around at the mass of empty tables and chairs.

'Would you like a table on the terrace?' she asks, sweetly.

Before thinking, I say, 'Oh, yes, that would be nice.' But then I look over and realise that the terrace is actually open to the elements, and this is March.

'Oh,' I say, quickly, 'the terrace is open.'

'Well, yes.' She rolls her eyes and makes a comical face, which she wipes off as soon as she realises that she's being insulting to their (almost) only customers.

'Look, we'll just find our own table if that's okay?' I say.

'What?' She says.

'We'll just look around and find our own table, okay?'

She stares at me as if I've suggested a lewd sex act, so we wander off.

We find what looks like a nice table and are dithering over taking it when another barmaid comes up – 'Can I get you a table?'

We let her, and sit down.

'What beers do you have on tap?' I ask.

She then lists, at high speed velocity, about fifteen beers. I catch 'Guinness', 'Stella', and 'Boddingtons'. I figure that I've managed to hear only the expensive beers, so ask for a slower repeat.

My wife nudges me and says, 'Have a Guinness.'

'Hmmm,' I grunt, 'How much is the Guinness?'

'They're all $7.50.' She smiles.

'Oh god, I'll take a Guinness then.'

My wife has a lychee martini, and also some trouble when asked to choose which vodka she'd like with that. 'But vodka doesn't taste of anything.' she tells me later.

After we all order, I notice that Qbert is looking unhappy. I ask him what the matter is, and he says, 'That doorman, on the way in, he said to me, "nice shirt".'

We all stare at Qbert's shirt. It isn't nice at all, in fact it's old, worn, and a bit hippy. He had already regretted, verbally, neglecting to change before coming out.

I roll a cigarette whilst tutting about this, as the aforementioned bouncer floats into view. He circles around the table at a distance, looking at us suspiciously. After some long-winded logical process he moves in for an encounter.

'Any pot in there?' He says, pointing at my tobacco.

From long and bitter experience, I've learnt that it is better not to smart-mouth bouncers, or to try and be humorous at all generally. They like it straight. If they think that you're laughing at them, then they'll throw you out, just to spite you.

I laugh, lightly, and hand him the tobacco, 'I wish!' I say.

As he pushes his oversized finger around my tin he pulls a face that implies that just by wishing to have pot, I'm now a suspicious man. He finishes his examination, hands me back the tin, and walks off without another word.

We all sit in silence and drink our drinks. It's Saturday night, midnight, and the place is still empty. It's depressing.

I ask a waitress where the bathroom is and she says, 'On the first floor.'

I frown at her. She mistakes this for confusion and feels the need to add, 'That's down the stairs.'

I can't help myself, I say, 'Yes, I understand "first floor".'

We leave soon after, and go home, to eat brie on toast.