There are chaps who won’t drink anything else if the bar doesn’t stock their devil’s piss. I’ve drunk with them before; sore drinkers withbottles up their asses. You will go to a pub and they will say, “double Glenlivet please, no ice, water.” And you will turn to shoot them that dude-look-around-does-this-place- look-like-it-can-even-spell-Glenlivet look. They will remain defiantly unperturbed. The waiter will clear his throat and say something like, “I don’t think we have that, uhm, drink here, but let me confirm with the barman.” Then you will tell them, “they don’t have that drink here, man” and the waiter will come back and say, “we don’t have that drink here, man” and he will brood and mumble and complain why people just can’t stock a goddamn bar when they decide to open a drinking establishment. And so you will ask him if he would like you to ask for a handkerchief from the big-bosomed lady seated across the room, so that he can have a good cry in it. He will settle for water. Only water. Which means you will end drinking alone. And where is the fun in that? You might as well be drinking with a mannequin.
There is a non-conformist attitude with some whisky drinkers who believe that if they drink a whisky they normally wouldn’t drink, they will grow old faster; or grow hair on their backs; that they will be less cool. It’s not even a question of taste or a palate conversation. It’s elitism worn inside out. It’s like a Mercedes owner refusing to get a ride in an Audi; or a BMW. It’s like a French restaurateur refusing to eat spaghetti Bolognese. And it’s annoying.
Still, when I visited the Deck, one of the coolest shisha joints in Nyali, cast at the backend of The EnglishPoint Marina overlooking Fort Jesus across the creek, I sulked a bit when I was told they didn’t have my 12yr old Chivas. They had Jack Daniels and Glenfiddich which I really don’t have a problem with although truth be told, I hate the smokiness of Jack and the aggressiveness of Glen. I just expected more from a place like English Point, which is the only marina between Cape Town and Egypt. But to be fair, the bar is fashioned more to be a shisha place and folk gather there not to pander to their whisky snobbishness but rather to while away the evening across the bay from one of the most magnificent sights on North Coast: Old Town. When the sun goes down and the lights come on, Mombasa glitters across the water like a lost medieval city.
I thought of my mannequin friend and asked the waiter to get me two fingers of Jack Daniels and two rocks, no water. Then I settled back in the silver chairs and stared out at the lights across and I heard Coldplay’s “Christmas lights” in my head.