Three be the things I shall never attain:
Envy, content, and sufficient champagne.
(Dorothy Parker, “The Inventory”)
I’m happy to report that in my long and lucky life I’ve now had a much stronger bash at that last item, thanks to the largesse of a Daddy Warbucks who shall go unnamed and an unplanned postwork stop at Pops for Champagne in its newish location near the Reader. In a nutshell: lovely, fizzy fun. Four of us snuzzled an entire magnum of Nicolas Feuillatte brut, which, to our server’s dismay, showed some sudden personality post-corking and started to run over after a safe-seeming pause. Regardless, it was a beautiful wine, and the (imported, “real”) French glasses made the whole experience much more pleasurable. They’re shorter than the usual flutes, which I’ve never liked. The experience of trying to stiffly tip my shoulders back then tuck an unbalanced test tube under my nose, all while twiddling its insufficient stem between my fingers, makes normal champagne drinking less fun. Pops’s glasses were elongated enough to corral bubbles, but big enough to feel balanced in the hand and still keep its heat off the champers. Two thumbs up.
To make up for the spillage we received complimentary glasses of a drier Henriot Brut Souverain, one of Pops’s current per-glass offerings–we were split two-and-two about who liked which best (I liked the Feuillatte). Also delish? A little plate of shaved cured meats–coppa, lomo, serrano, dry salami, soppressata, capicolla–with whole grain mustard that provided a perfect rich salty counterpoint to the sometimes sweetish bubbles.
The new location is a big part of the charm. I don’t know enough about the Tree Studios battle to know if I should be feeling guilty about where I was sitting, nor did I have much intimacy with the old spot, but the new glassy corner Pops provides the right sense of feeling like a champagne bubble yourself, floating in a glowing flute. Glamorous low lighting everywhere, all reflected over again in the old curved windows. We sat in the jazz club in the basement, which was a little loud but much better for providing atmosphere and chairs that were human-sized. Most of the seats upstairs looked like narrow little kids’ high chairs, a major pet peeve of mine these days: tiny little platforms (and me on teetering on top, like those unbalanced flutes), although there are also some cozy banquettes and squashy stools both upstairs and down. And a coat check! Champagne-drinking: an adult pleasure well worth waiting for. And not a headache in sight.