Martini with your manicure? Beer with a buzz cut?
with Tracy Lane
Having lived in Columbia for a while, we both know where to find a drink. We each have our favorite watering holes — places to get a good pour of Jameson accompanied by interesting conversation from the bartenders and their regulars. But mixology has spread from the bars and restaurants. We missed the one-day beer-and-a-brat event at Binghams, so the offer to get a martini and a manicure, with a massage thrown in for good measure, a pedicure with a Pinot Noir and a beer and a buzz cut was just too tempting to pass up.
Tracy: Florida Nails, 1406 Forum Blvd.
For a number of years now, my friend Jackie and I have taken great mini-escapes and treated ourselves to pedicures at Florida Nails in the Forum Shopping Center. The staff there is friendly and fun, and we always like talking with them. We enjoy sitting side by side in the massage chairs while our feet soak in some bubbly, good-smelling water.
Every time we’ve visited, Jackie has suggested to the owner that he get a liquor license so clients can have a glass of wine with their manicure or pedicure.
Recently, he took her advice. Yes, we now can sip a glass of wine and get an excellent (and affordable) pedicure simultaneously at Florida Nails and enjoy some fun conversation with a friend and the staff, too. You also can be massaged by a chair (and it’s a good one, by the way).
During a recent visit, the woman sitting next to me was in from Montana visiting family. She said she always makes an appointment at Florida Nails when she’s in town. She was pleasantly surprised to learn that she could now have a glass of wine during her manicure and joined me for a drink and lively conversation.
I was accompanied by Jennifer Kettler, CBT photographer and friend, who I believe enjoyed shooting the experience as much as I enjoyed having the experience. Who knew having a pedicure could be so much fun?
(It costs businesses $450 annually to obtain a city license to sell liquor by the drink, $300 more if they want to sell on Sunday and $75 for beer and light wine, according to Janice Finley, the business services administrator in the Finance Department.)
Jonathan: Buzz Barbershop, 906 E. Walnut St.
With my hair and beard becoming rather Rasputin-like, it was the perfect opportunity for me to visit Buzz Barbershop. There I met owner Seth Reynolds, and he offered me a beer. The barber shop has been around for eight years, originally on North Eighth Street. About five years ago Reynolds moved around the corner to Walnut Street, between Ninth and 10th streets. It’s a small shop with a couple of cutting stations, a few chairs for waiting and neon beer signs on the wall. In the back, a large glass-front fridge holds an assortment of canned and bottled beer and soda. I walked to the back, grabbed a Pabst pint can and took a seat in Reynolds’ chair.
At only $1 a beer with a hair cut, the beer is not the money-maker for Reynolds. Serving beer is a way to keep clients from walking away if there is already someone in his chair. Reynolds came up with the idea while attending barber school in Springfield where he noticed that most men would turn around and walk out if there was any wait. Recognizing that was money walking out the door, he had the idea of serving beer to give clients something to do while they waited.
Though a straightforward idea, Reynolds ran into problems making it happen. Apparently the first person in Missouri to seek a liquor license for a barbershop, he ran into confusion and bureaucracy when opening. It took him about six months of untangling red tape before he was able to open his doors.
During my cut and trim, I noticed Reynolds had a knack for cutting hair while the client was having a drink; he paused each time I took a drink. Perfectly timed, I finished my beer as he wrapped up with my hair. He’s also a great conversationalist. After a quick trim of the beard, I thanked Reynolds, paid and continued on with my afternoon business downtown.
Tracy: Room 38 and the Marc Salon, 36-38 N. Eighth St.
The next-door neighbors at the north end of Eighth Street have teamed up for Martini and Manicure Monday. During happy hour on Mondays (5:30-10 p.m.) at Room 38, women can get a manicure from one of the Marc’s esteticians as they sip one of Room 38’s signature martinis.
I scheduled a manicure for 5:50 p.m., so I arrived around 5:30 and was greeted by a server who explained the process and offered me a specialty drink list to peruse. I chose the mango margarita, and soon after I was happy to see my friend Tia Brown arrive with a manicure kit in hand.
Not one to splurge on manicures, I was relieved that someone I knew would be doing my nails and not someone who would judge me by my utter lack of attention to my hands. My server directed me to the back room, which is given a spa atmosphere on Monday nights. Two women were already there and sat side by side while chatting away, each with one hand being manicured and the other holding a martini glass aloft. Tia was waiting at the back of the room with her tools of the trade spread out on the table. As I sat down, my server took my order for another drink.
This is no chintzy manicure they’re offering. Tia soaked my hands in something oozy and soothing and massaged them. Cocktail number two went down quickly as we chatted while Tia trimmed, filed and painted my nails with a subtle natural color. She finished them off with a little fast-dry shine potion, some nicely scented moisturizer and another hand massage.
And all I had to do was hold a cocktail glass and, occasionally, put it down.
When that pampering session came to an end, I heard another familiar voice — Jennifer — ask me if I would like a back massage for $1 per minute. Without hesitation, I moved over to the massage chair, thrilled to realize my relaxation session has not ended after all.
Jennifer Butterwick has recently joined the ranks of this cooperative venture and brings her skills from Cherry Hill Massage to Room 38 for the Martini Monday crowd. Unfortunately, I have only 10 minutes before I have to run. She works out a lot of tense spots on my head, neck and back in those few minutes.
As I run out the door, I am thoroughly relaxed. Too bad I’m not done working for the day. That brings me to my recommendation: Schedule your Room 38 Monday night experience when you can go home and enjoy the relaxation. (For reservations: 573-449-3838)
Jonathan: Splasher’s Laundry & Tanning, 1804 Paris Road
Booze and business can be great mixology, but a good drink doesn’t make up for bad service. Having already had a long day and having not been to a laundromat in years, our experience at Splasher Laundry and Tanning was less than pleasurable. To start with, I didn’t realize laundromats no longer take quarters. Splashers runs on a card. It’s where Dave & Buster’s meets dirty clothes. Even the machine to load money onto the cards takes no quarters. It’s paper money only. Running low on cash, I asked the attendant if I could run a debit card and get some cash back when I got my beer. She directed me to their ATM — an ATM that not only didn’t work, but also only dispensed paper vouchers, which required me to go to the attendant to get cash from the register. It seemed like an unnecessary step. After several failed attempts at the ATM, the attendant finally offered to charge my card for $5 extra with my (at this point) much needed beers.
Jonathan and Tracy: Sparky’s, 21 S. Ninth St.
After a long day of working downtown, we often find ourselves grabbing dinner at one of the many restaurants. No matter where we eat, more often than not, we find ourselves heading to Sparky’s. There is always room for Sparky’s homemade ice cream after dinner. Tracy loves to mix coconut and chocolate, her daughter Lane typically goes for cinnamon and chocolate mix, and I love “The King,” a blend of bananas, peanut butter and honey, or “Coffee and Doughnuts,” chunks of doughnut blended with coffee. It’s like breakfast in ice cream form. Sometimes, when we’ve had one of those long days, we order the perfect nightcap and dessert, all in one. The Choco/Bailey’s combo always hits the spot for Tracy, while I usually opt for the Guinness Float. They even offer some flavors mixed with wine from local vintner Les Bourgeous in their ice cream. Sparky’s, we’ll miss you this winter. Lane just said this morning, we need to eat there every day this week because they close for the winter from November to January.