A weekly Voracious feature in which we walk into a bar unannounced and ask the bartender to make us his or her favorite drink.
Establishment: Jules Maes, 5919 Airport Way S., 957-7766. GEORGETOWN.
Barkeep: Hefe–pronounced like jefe, or “boss” in Spanish. And Hefe, by any measure, is boss.
After hearing the First Call rules, Hefe needs a clarification. “So, do you want whatever I want to pour?”
Not exactly. If you were sitting here, what would you order? “Ah.” She leaves and comes back toting an armful of shot glasses.
Liquid Courage: “You guys are lucky,” she tells our group. “I was gonna bring you Olys—easy to pour and no dishes. But this is what you get—Hornitos and pickle juice.”
Jeez-us, Hefe. Pickle juice? Are you serious? I feel the same way about pickle juice that most people feel about in-laws. “I used to drink it with pineapple, but I drank a lot of tequila when I was a kid,” she says with zero irony, “and I got tired of it. So pickle juice it is.”
Siiiiiiiiiggghhh. So once again: Cheers! Down the hatch, stick out the tongue, and throw down the pickle juice. And just like that, it’s over. The pickle juice cuts the tequila like a cokehead cuts lines, and before I know it, the tequila is gone. Then for good measure Hefe serves up a round of Olys, so we sip and look.
Jules Maes is just across the street from the Georgetown Brewery. Try as I might, I just can’t ever see Georgetown becoming the next “it” ‘hood. Its architecture’s too gritty, its collar too blue. Here at Jules Maes on a Tuesday, the clientele looks the part: regulars, hunched over personalized bar stools, all of whom are on a first-name basis with Hefe. This, however, isn’t saying much. Hefe’s first interaction with us—after checking our IDs, of course—is to shake hands and ask our names. She is by far one of the coolest bartenders I’ve encountered on a First Call, albeit badass in that don’t-flip-me-any-shit-or-I’ll-curb-stomp-your-skull-in vein. The rest of the bar feels the same way: a pair of mannequin legs over the bar, a skull on the tap, a buffalo on the wall, and no music, although a portrait of Johnny Cash flipping the bird hangs prominently behind the till.
I have to say, I’m impressed with the selection, although I still hate pickle juice. My dad owned a pickle farm when I was a kid. My first tattoo was a pickle. Wanna see?
Absolutely. Can I take a picture of your pickle? Only if I can take a picture of your pickle.