It's Sunday evening but that doesn't stop Nectar from blasting music loudly enough to be heard more than a block away. But here, a group of regulars are crowding around the bar to watch game highlights on a screen behind the bar and flirt -- their hope vanquished by futility -- with the woman keeping bar. Sinners and Saints 303 N. 36th St., is relatively new among the string of night spots dotting Fremont's main strip. The bar itself seems to be having a bit of an identity crisis. There's a gated shelf over the bar, which, given the Dia de Los Muertos decor should probably be filled with spendy tequilas, guards Malibu Rum and Stoli.
But bartender Lisa Raybell is having no such crisis of her own. She knows who she is and what she like to drink.
"I'm a simple girl," she explains. "I'm a gin-and-tonic girl."
Cue laughter from a couple of bros sitting two bar stools over. Raybell gives them a nod and continues. "Bombay Sapphire, can't go wrong, it's more of a flavorful gin than Tanqueray or McCormick," she explains. "And always with two limes. One doesn't ever seem to be enough."
She adds that G&Ts have the advantage of being low-cal and "it doesn't give me a hangover. That and Captain Morgan's. I never get hangovers. I get into trouble sometimes ..." She trails off, and the dudes guffaw.
Raybell doesn't hide her favorite drink, apologize for her favorite music -- she kills the Beatles album someone put into the stereo in favor of AC/DC -- or hesitate to explain the nuances of Canada's DUI laws (for her sake, we'll just assume she's speaking hypothetically).
As a watering hole, Sinners and Saints is still sorting out exactly what it wants to be. It's in the process of developing a formal menu, but doesn't have much in the way of a dining area. There's no signature cocktail menu. And for all the dark wood, red lighting and iron decorating, the guy drinking Bud Light at the end of the bar -- Raybell has to hunt down the last one from a fridge in the back -- makes it feel more like a neighborhood pub than the next hot night spot.
The gated liquor cabinet has a Bible verse listed on each gate. On the left is John 3:16: "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." On the right, Revelation 13:18: "This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man's number. His number is 666."
Sinners and Saints might not quite know who it wants showing up at the bar: gods, men, or hellbeasts. But whichever you are, Raybell has a gin and tonic waiting for you.