Mel, World’s Best Bartender!

Moss Beach Distillery

Mel, World’s Best Bartender

My neighbor in Capitola, Antonio, is an antiques expert. He knows about furniture, vintage crystal, and collectibles. Me? Not so much. I hear the name Waterford and I think I have valuable crystal. In fact, I used to make a point of buying two wine glasses every time I passed through the airport in Shannon, Ireland. I amassed quite a collection over the years and cherished this as my most valuable possession – you know, something to leave the children.

When I moved to Costa Rica, I dispersed the crystal to my two kids. Of the most precious, were the two bud vases given to me by my then husband – you know the delusional one with the Walter Mitty complex. He brought me a box of crystal he picked up at an Estate Sale. He was so excited when he showed me the treasure trove! He said, “The glasses are nice, but the real value is in the bud vases. Each one is worth over five hundred dollars!”

I believed him. (Of course, I believed everything he said and we know where that got me.) So, before we moved to Costa Rica I made a special trip to San Francisco to deliver the goods to Tyler. I pulled the two vases out of the box, unwrapped them and said, “Now these are worth a LOT of money. Keep these no matter what.”

“What are they, mom? What do you do with them?”

“I think they are for little flower arrangements. You know, like little bunches of Sweet Williams. You put them on the table when you have dinner parties.”

Looking back, I can imagine what my thirty-something son and his wife Colette were thinking after I left. Yeah, right! Like we’re really gonna put some old lady flowers in these stupid things, and have our friends over for tea!

Last week I got a text from Tyler (four years after I gave him the goods) asking me if I wanted them back. He was polite enough to say they didn’t have room in their apartment. Yeah, like they take up a lot of room.

“Oh yes!” I cried. “I can sell them on Ebay. I think I’ll get more on Ebay than Craigslist. I’ll be up this weekend helping my neighbor deliver some antiques to the city.”

As Antonio was parking the van, I saw some items sitting on the sidewalk in front of an apartment building. “Oh, look at that plate. I like it. It’s there for the taking. That’s what they do here. They put stuff on the street for people to take. Let’s put it in the van before somebody else gets it!”

I snagged it, stored it, and then went up to Tyler’s apartment to get the real treasure. Remember, Antonio knows antiques. The two pieces were set out on the entry table. As we walked in, I picked one up and handed it to Antonio. He held it for a few seconds, looked up at me, and tried to keep a straight face.

“I hate to tell you, but this is not crystal. It’s just a cheap piece of glass. You’d be lucky to get five cents for this! That plate you picked up on the street is worth more than this thing.”

Tyler and I exchanged looks – all these years!


Precious “Crystal” and Street Plate

Driving home to Capitola on the coastal  route from San Francisco Antonio casually asked, “Ever been to the Distillery?”

“Sure, been to lots of ’em!” I replied.

“No, I mean the restaurant up the road on the ocean. We could stop there for a drink if you like.”

“Good idea. Now that I know my crystal is worthless, we might as well have a toast to chasing pots of gold at the rainbow’s end.”

“Keep your eyes open for a sign. I think it’s coming up soon, on the right.”

We found it alright, as did a whole bunch of other folks. The parking lot was jam-packed, and as soon as we walked through the door, the energy emanated fun, fun, fun! The place was abuzz with colorful characters from all walks of life. We spotted two bar stools, but they weren’t together. I had no qualms about asking the two ladies to move down so Antonio and I could sit together. It’s all in how you ask. We made fast friends with the girls who accommodated us, and within minutes, we felt like regulars, in for the Friday Happy Hour – and what a Happy Hour it is! All drinks are half price Monday through Friday from 5:00 PM till 7:00 PM! Including top shelf brands like Jack Daniels and Storr’s Chardonnay.

As I sipped my wine, I watched Mel the bartender “perform” behind the bar. She was churning out cocktails with more flair than Tom Cruise in “Cocktail!” She did it effortlessly, all the while smiling and kibitzing with the customers. It was then that I noticed the drink menu and flashed on the Blue Lady Martini. At that point I didn’t even know about the famous ghost that frequents the place.

Moss Beach Distillery

Blue Lady Cocktail

I read the fascinating story while I enjoyed the beautiful and delicious drink, plus the bonus. Mel poured the extra that was left in the metal shaker into a separate glass for me. It’s the little things.

The Happy Hour food menu was a ton-o-fun, too! We were such happy campers, we had to go down to the outdoor patio area with the bonfires and blankets to “rest up” for the drive home. It’s only an hour from Capitola and if Mel is tending bar, it is well worth the drive any day of the week.

If you want to know about the ghost lady, go there and read the tale while sipping something fun. Maybe you will see her. Many have, including the well known parapsychologist, Lloyd Auerbach, and famous psychic, Annette Martin. Or you could Google it, and miss out on the drinks.

Me? I’m going back to sip another Blue Lady Cocktail and look for the beautiful ghost in the blue gown – and to see Mel, world’s best bartender!

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