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You thought I had good taste in food?  Think again.  I have a primo palate after a healthy dose of cocktails on a Saturday night.

This particular Saturday night out was a celebration of Ryan’s birthday (Happy Birthday, Ryan!) in the “Penthouse Suite” at Swig in the Union Square neighborhood.  A thick with ambiance loft overlooking the main bar, the Penthouse is complete with it’s own bar, bartender and the option to bring your own snacks.  The space was a perfect nook just for our group and the perfect perspective for people-watching (think packed dance floor powered by some pumping DJ music).  Until midnight, we mingled, danced in place while mingling, mingled some more and gave the bartender more than her fair share of business.

At about 12:30am our friends were thinning out and with an invitation from Jen and Paul, we headed to the Redwood Room just down the block for a night cap.  Paul showed us the moving “portraits” and we squeezed our way through to the bar.  It was here that I knew late night dining was a must.  What tipped me off?  I’ll leave that up to your imagination, but it was in the name of fun.  Hint: if your imagination is still running, please pause.  Our ‘in the name of fun’ moments are G rated!

I’ve lived a few blocks from a Mel’s Diner for almost six years now and I hardly even noticed that it was there.  With my favorite mani/pedi spot right next door, I’m not sure how I missed it.  I guess that it could be that when I am getting my pedicure, it’s an off hour at the diner.  I figured that tourists must keep in in business, but little did I know that it’s those special Saturday night palates that actually keep it more than in business, but thriving.

We got to Mel’s just in the nick of time, prior to the 2am bar bell and just before a line started to form at the door.  Who knew!?!  We were seated in our own little booth and our taste buds took over.  We ordered a bacon cheeseburger with onion rings AND fries, plus pancakes.  I’m quite positive it wasn’t just my slightly impaired judgment at this hour, but they have a darn good bacon cheeseburger and Ryan thought the pancake “rollups” were delicious.  I also give the folks at Mel’s a nod for friendly service, a clean environment, comfortable seating and putting up with a bunch of rowdy kids.  And then it happened…

The clock struck 2am and Mel’s became an animated, full of life social microcosm.  The camaraderie of these well-hydrated marina folk was a sight to be seen.  Music was going strong, the whole dining room was singing along and people were socializing with their neighbors, even though they were complete strangers.  It was a true specimen of community with all guards let down, and I’m quite sure that it was just getting going.

Moral of the story?  A 2am trip to Mel’s is necessary at least once whether it be for entertainment at its best or the pretty decent burger and fries.  I’d even make a trip at an off hour for a no-nonsense diner meal, but for the ultimate people watching event, when the clock strikes 2, get yourself to a Mel’s near you.