The three local bartenders we spoke with agree that business has picked up during the last few months, but they say it's hard to tell whether the debauchery has been prompted by escapism or by the holiday spirit. "There was a decrease in dining after Sept. 11, but not a decrease in drinking," observes Matt McMullin, a barkeep at Tangerine. "And people are getting a little more hammered than before." Scott LeCorgne, who works behind the stick at the St. Louis Brewery & Tap Room, says he's noticed a larger happy-hour crowd and more groups than usual. Shortly after the attacks, LeCorgne recalls, customers at every table were talking about the tragedy. "We added a couple of news channels on satellite, and people were glued to the coverage," he says. "That lasted three or four weeks, and now they want to watch sports again. But I'm sure we'd turn the news back on if we had bin Laden in hand." And all of America would drink to that.
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