It happened on a gloomy day. In part because of the rain, we were in one of our blah moods and didn't really feel like making plans to do anything over the weekend. We'd spent a good part of our afternoon conveying our half-assedness to potential Research Assistants. "Sounds like the blah is of an epidemic proportion throughout KC," Robert e-mailed. "Everybody I've talked to has said the exact same thing." So of course, we ended up going out for drinks on an informational interview with a potential crushee, where we proceeded to get absolutely, mortifyingly shithammered, then turned into a stupid drunk. "You kept asking us how the Brooksider was," our friend Kevin later told us. "We told you, like, five times that we didn't go there."
Anyway, Saturday rolled around, and we met up again with some of our RAs at a party at our editor's house, where we were happy to hear that we weren't the only hungover jackass in attendance. We stuck with water for a few hours, then eventually engaged in some cautious recovery drinking with a Boulevard Wheat. Thus fortified, we eventually made our way to the Twin City Tavern.
We'd always been curious about it when driving by; it seemed to be divelike, a low-key place where we needed to be.
Twin City sits on State Line Road, appropriately enough, straddling the boozy side of the street just inside Missouri. The classic tavern has been around since the 1930s, said Kim Moffitt, who owns the bar with her twin brother, Chris Hervey.
The place was sparsely populated when we arrived around 11:30 p.m. The first thing that struck us was the color brown, from the painted, wood-paneled walls to the metal folding chairs. Neon beer signs glared from the walls. Beefy, tattooed guys sat at one end; a booth full of prep hipsters gathered at the other. In between, on the barstools, sat several guys of different species, from the pierced to the plaid-pants-wearing.
In defiance of the beer-before-liquor rule, we ordered vodka drinks: orange Stoli and 7-Up, raspberry Stoli and 7-Up, and a screwdriver. The total came to $12, which caused Nathan to go off in his happily lit state. "This is like a dive without the dive prices," he said. "If you're gonna be a dive, you might as well throw me some fuckin' beer nuts for free. This is a faux dive." (Moffitt informed us of more divetastic drink specials: Thursdays, a bucket of five Bud or Bud Lite bottles goes for $10; Fridays, there's the same deal with Miller and Miller Lite. "We also have awesome martinis," she said. "We make cosmos all the time. They come in these darling cosmo glasses my mom got at Jones. They have a lady on the front.")
We then spotted a guy who was sitting at the bar and playing cards with the bartender. Jay, a regular, told us they were playing rummy. "I come here because of the proximity to my bed," he said. "We counted once -- it's 227 steps to my couch."
"Someone had the best quote about this place," injected Bart, a tattoo artist who had a silver, curvy post dangling from his pierced chin. "It's Cheers on crack. There are so many characters here."
"There are so many Daves," Jay added. "There's Artist Dave, Cowboy Dave ... "
"Then, there's close-talker Tom," Bart said. "Every time I see him, I light a cigarette to keep him back. I've burned him, like, four times."
"I would say there are a lot of latent homosexuals here," Jay said.
"No, don't say that. This isn't a gay bar," Bart protested.
"I know four guys who come here to liquor up before going home to their wives," Jay insisted.
"It's an unbelievable mix of people," Bart said. "We have judges, lawyers and criminals drinking with each other," he added, pointing out a mass of black ash on the floor caused when one of the regulars, a judge, dumped out his pipe. "Because of the proximity to the medical center, there are med students, nurses, tattoo artists. I mean, here's a biochemist [gesturing to Jay] and a tattoo artist drinking together! Everybody up here gets along."
"It's a mellow scene," Jay added. That's enough scientific proof for us. Now, could you get a grant to research hangover remedies?