Captain & Captain 

Gateway Lounge, 4201 Prairie, 314-371-8855

There are no guns of any sort allowed in North St. Louis' cozy Gateway Lounge. Though this may come as reassurance to petrified honkeys who consider Delmar to represent the proverbial other side of the tracks, it should also serve as comfort to speakeasy aficionados who appreciate the art of the handheld pour: Liquor and soda guns are as off-limits as the cold blued-steel variety at the Prairie Avenue outpost.

With the lack of liquid guns comes the necessity to line the bar with a plethora of two-liter bottles of pop. Diet Pepsi, Caffeine-Free Diet Coke, club soda, RC Cola, 7UP, maybe even generic fizz when the name brands are out of stock.

In essence, the Gateway's bar is a lot like your kitchen liquor cabinet. And when you're at home, do you pour yourself a weak drink? Of course not. You treat the carbonated stuff like parsley: strictly for show, not for consumption. Hence, when you take R. Kelly's "Ignition Remix" advice and order a rum-and-Coke, you may not get so much as a bubble of cola in your tumbler of ice.

When the rum of choice is Captain Morgan, the resulting beverage is, strictly speaking, a Captain & Captain. And although it would be physiologically wise to wince your way through just one of these puppies and call it a night, the ambience of the Gateway has a way of coaxing you into a second round, and perhaps a third.

In fact, by night's end you may well feel as if you're walking with one eye closed -- just like the optically patched Captain Morgan himself, only not so swashbuckling.

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