Half-Pint of Courvoisier With Ginger Ale Chaser

East Coast Lounge, 2825 North Broadway, 314-621-9777

For any of you suckers who gave up hard liquor as your New Year's resolution, Peretha Lewis is kindly asking you to shelve that ridiculously futile venture immediately. Lewis and her sister Vivian have owned and operated the East Coast Lounge in St. Louis' ghostly North Broadway industrial district for 22 years, and they sell half-pints by the bottle. No, really -- they sell half-pints by the bottle. For $11, no less -- complete with bucket of ice and your choice of juice or soda.

Do the math, meatball: A half-pint equals eight ounces equals eight shots. Uh-huh -- you're snookered out of your friggin' brain for mad cheap before you've even had the chance to punch in LeVert's "Casanova" on the Coast's retro-soul jukebox. Who needs to sneak in a flask at prices like that? Even more calculation yields that at most Washington Avenue turbo bars -- or even the cookie-cutter blues-and-hoosier zone that is the island of Soulard -- eight ounces of dragon water would cost you, oh, roughly $40, sans tip. In other words, the Coast is easily the best drunkard's deal in the city, which also makes it the best place to fire up a half-pint of Courvoisier, a libation that has garnered a substantial head of steam thanks to the creative musings of Puff Diddy and Tim Meadows' "Ladies Man."

In actuality, the 80-proof French elixir, referred to on its label as "Le Cognac de Napoleon," makes you feel blissfully queasy with its pungent kick. Good thing, too -- the Coast offers old-school R&B and rap for a sharp-dressed, ethnically mixed crowd that seeks to torch the city's north/south racial Berlin Wall every Friday and Saturday. And getting gassed up is a surefire way for you to get your shimmy on, Lord knows. If there is indeed a higher power, he or she will reward the Lewis sisters' perseverance by making the Coast the fulcrum of old North St. Louis' renaissance, which is expected to occur sometime before the millennium is out, if not a smidge sooner.

The recommended chaser here is ginger ale -- it wasn't for nothing that your mama drowned you in that nonalc bubbly every time you fell ill as a tot. If you're not a heavyweight, you can order shots of Courvoisier for $5, but what fun is that? Are you teensy weensy washed-up Vinny Pazienza, or are you Lennox Lewis, mate? Thought so, champ. Now take a swig from your pint -- and pass the Courvoisier.

 
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