Maybe it was the Hitchcockian birds silhouetted on the ceiling, but Bloodhound immediately seemed like the kind of place where you should order a Negroni, stare meaningfully into it for at least 5 minutes, then tie on a headscarf and burst into tears. So that’s what I did, but about halfway into it I started feeling dreamy and abstract and mumbled almost to myself, “What is SoMa?”

“It means, south of Market.”

Luu is so literal. What I was looking for was the zeitgeist of the place, like when people ask where Haight-Ashbury is and you know they’re not looking for the cross-street, but the 60s.

“Honestly, it’s a clusterfuck,” Cleo replied, and we agreed that the clientele of the bar was kind of like a donut: business in the middle and party all-around. There were the after-work types, the modestly aged women, and one tattooed latin hipster, who happened to be this guy who I’ve been trying to set Luu up with. I greeted this last patron at the bar, gestured toward the table near the window where I had left the rest of my party, and whispered, “There she is!” I said this in an Australian accent to create a mood similar to that of the Crocodile Hunter coming upon a rare alligator lying on the bank of some languid river. “Looks like she just wacked her hand on something,” he responded with a smirk. Sure enough, Luu was now convulsing next to the wood beam table, and the moment was inextricably lost.

Cleo commented that the bar reminded her of a furniture store on Valencia called Therapy. To which Luu squealed, “The Rapy?!?” Because apparently that’s how it’s spelled, and Cleo looked at her like she was indeed in need of some The Rapy.

Then we were on our second drink, the delicious Ward 8, which Cleo said she would be happy to drink forever, and had started eating the canned funfetti frosting I was carrying around in preparation for a birthday cake. The bartender had okayed this since the Bloodhound permits outside food, and also, as it turns out, dogs. Although, I won’t recommend offering a finger-full of frosting to another patron’s Maltese, no matter how much he seems to be begging you with his eyes. You should be looking into the dog’s eyes, not the patron’s.

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