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Restaurant Diary: Drinking and thinking at Colombo's

September 8, 2011 |  9:00 am

Early Tuesday, I found myself in the front yard of some good friends in Eagle Rock. We sat on mismatched chairs beside a fire, which one of them kept stirring with large garden shears. The topic of conversation: Has the digital revolution dumbed us down?

"We're not getting smarter, our phones are," said my friend.

It was a good point, and even though I lamely tried to argue that phones these days are like appendages and that as such could be considered natural extensions of the human intellect, I had to hand it to him. I had been served.

But how did I find myself on the losing end of a conversation like this at 1 a.m. on a Tuesday? I credit Colombo's, the old Italian bar and restaurant down the street on Colorado Boulevard.

Open since 1954, Colombo's is a trapped-in-amber gem with a worn-down counter and red tufted booths. Its long, scratched wooden bar has seen the bottom side of many a sad glass of gin. The place practically oozes alcoholic melodrama. I count it among my favorite places to wallow.

Earlier, my brother and I had stopped by Colombo's for an after-show martini. I'm a fan of how Colombo's serves its martinis in sensibly sized glasses, with a shaker of extra alcohol on the side. Yes, the drink gets watered down, but it looks good.

Over these shimmering glasses of warmth, my brother and I became as lucid as our drinks were clear, and our conversation flowed fast and easy and veered into thoughtful territory. Life wasn't so bad if we could drink and think together at Colombo's.

In fact, life felt so nice that I didn't want to go home. Thus the late-night stop at a friend's house and the verbal bob-and-weave I found myself performing as I veered into contrarian territory.

It was a good night.


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Photo: Jessica Gelt / Los Angeles Times