The Cat's Meow, 2600 S. 11th Street, 314-776-8617

Oct 27, 2004 at 4:00 am
At the storied Cat's Meow in South Soulard, 3:30 p.m., the sixth game of the National League championship series is being broadcast on three tubes, and the six men and one woman sitting at the bar are discussing the merits of FOX's coverage. Specifically, the camera embedded in the ground near home plate, dubbed "Diamond Cam."

"You mean the Dirt Cam?" a chubby middle-aged man shouts. "I don't see the point of it. It's not like it gives you any better view of the game." The others agree. Resolved at the Cat's Meow: Diamond Cam is dumb.

"It's like there's always dirt caked on it," the woman says.

Pujols hits his two-run homer in the bottom of the first. The bar cheers. Someone screams, "We should get a home-run discount like at McDonald's with the Big Macs!" The bartender smiles and politely declines.

The bar's decor is late-twentieth-century feline. As in: all cats. Cute cats, mean cats, funny cats, sexy cats. A cheap flea-market picto-rug hangs on the wall. It shows a jungle tiger lunging at an antelope. Beneath it hangs an anthropomorphized photo of two kittens dressed in schoolboy uniforms smoking cigarettes in a bathroom. So funny, so cute. Some of these artifacts have been here awhile, since back in the day when Gladys and Agnes, two sisters who were the toast of Soulard, owned the place.

The Cat's Meow sells Planters salted nuts and those orange-peanut-butter-cracker things, good for eating with beer and whiskey, which is what you're going to want to order at the Cat's Meow. It's not like this place is going to have a martini menu or wine list. This is a bar, one of the closest to the Anheuser-Busch brewery. So order a beer (Budweiser, what else?) and a whiskey (Bushmill's) on the citywide Cards-in-Playoffs holiday half-day.

Specifically, go ahead and order a boilermaker, which contains only two ingredients: whiskey and beer. Although the recipe is simple, there are two distinct ways to enjoy the drink. The first is to order a shot of whiskey and a mug of beer, take a few swigs of the latter, then drop the whiskey-filled shot glass into the mug and slam it. You'll get a big dose of beer, followed hot on its heels by your shot of whiskey. Be careful; the shot glass could bust a tooth as you tip the mug.

Dentists recommend the second, more civilized method: Do the shot, then chase it with beer. It's easier to enjoy this way. You get the oomph of the shot, and the calming, relaxing tingle of a Bud, which is tasting pretty excellent right about now.

Two women walk in and greet the bar, and the bar greets them back. One orders a bottle of Mich Ultra. The other opts for Bud Light. They sit at a table and start watching the coverage, which switches to the Dirt Cam. As if on cue, one of the women shouts, "Ah, the Diamond Cam. You gotta love it!"

The peanut gallery agrees, and one member orders a round for the bar. Here's to innovation!