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Volume 71, Issue 131, Thursday, April 20, 2006

Life & Arts

Absinthe takes the edge off

Bottoms Up

Sarah Tressler 

If you're finally going crazy from end-of-semester anticipation, you may want to set your sights on a cozy little lounge that was named after bottled madness: Absinthe.

Absinthe, the drink, typically was wormwood-derived liquor that was bright green and quite bitter. A dose would be poured through a slotted spoonful of sugar and mixed with water to take the edge off the bitter flavor. Its reputation as a dangerous, psychoactive drug prompted officials in many European countries and the United States to ban absinthe around the early 1900s.

History lesson aside, this comfy lounge still serves a drink called absinthe, though it isn't made from genuine, wormwood-derived liquor. But the bartender will put on a little show to make it, including some minor pyrotechnics.

Absinthe, 609 Richmond Ave., may not offer a true shot of absinthe, but the cozy venue has a potent liquor menu that will take you to a higher -- or lower -- place.

Gregory Buhoslav/The Daily Cougar

Absinthe Lounge has a distinctly bohemian vibe, which is in step with the images its namesake conjures. Artists like Picasso, Manet and Toulouse-Lautrec were known to imbibe this popular and controversial elixir. Van Gogh is reputed to have sliced off his ear while under the influence of this latter day libation.

As such, you will find a mixture of the artistic and the deep-thinking, as well as trendy cliques boozing it up in the dimly lit cushiony corners of this club's love seats and lounge chairs.

One thing that Absinthe has that other clubs don't is a killer menu of elegant bar fare. This is not the standard hamburger and hot dog grub you'd expect from a place that primarily serves alcohol. Absinthe boasts a menu of mini gourmet pizzas, salmon carpaccio and international cheeses, among other delicacies. You'd be hard-pressed to find a rosemary chicken panini at Drink Houston.

Drink specials are offered on Tuesday nights, with $2 off everything, so drink up. Wednesdays are B.Y.O.C.D. nights; you bring in your favorite CD, and the staff will play it for the club (please leave your new Kevin Federline album at home).

This is another one of those places that doesn't believe in putting a sign up outside, so make sure you MapQuest the directions before you drive all around the Montrose area trying to find it.

Once you get there, you won't believe how quickly a shot of absinthe can calm your finals-frazzled nerves.

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