Aufwiedersehen! Farewell, Dixie Mattress. With the opening of Sweet Hereafter and Straight from New York Pizza the formerly abandoned space, complete with spider-webbed creepy birdcage in the window, has been reclaimed and is open for business.


Passing Sweet Hereafter yesterday I noticed what appeared to be a doorman/bouncer. If this is so, he might be the first on 34th and Belmont ever. Welcome, strong man! Shower often and be kind.

But first let's get Straight from New York Pizza out of the way. I went there a few weeks ago. They serve up pizza and domestic beer from tap. Nothing fancy: Easy-on-the-palette, hits-the-spot kinda pizza on the greasy side for the die-hard American traditionalist. For $3.50 you can overload on carbohydrates with plenty of bread sticks and marinara.

Parmesan and marinara! Nothing to see here. Moving on to wine, distilled liquor, beers and burgers with a chance at getting laid tonight next door at the Sweet Hereafter. At last there will be drunk, eligible singles in MY neighborhood.

Don't worry, I know this is tagged under "Food," and I would tell you about it... but I'm doing a colon cleanse I ordered online. So I asked around, and I was told it was "really good."

After having my ID checked, I can now confirm: Long-haired dude, casually leaning against the door on a barstool is in fact a bouncer. Is he eligible? I don't know. What I know so far is: For a Tuesday night, it's definitely happening in here! Men in aviator sunglasses at the bar, group of single ladies in low cut shirts behind me, skirts are short and beards are long. Tattoos everywhere! And since I'm being ignored at the bar, I have time to go into details: GEEZ LOUIS, IS THIS COUNTER MADE OF MARBLE?!!

(Blinded by marble, suggestive images of HOT Dig a Pony bartenders are playing out in front of my eyes. Oh my, drool, they sure are worth the bus ride.)

Distracted by random thoughts, I get through waiting for my drink. The bartender and I instantly hit it off. "You take PLATINUM credit cards here?" I ask. He replies "Do you want to keep it open?" (Sure I do. Your place or mine?)

But I have to leave the bar. Some girl is giving me the stink eye because her boyfriend can't stop staring at me. I escape to the patio, which amounts to even more sweaty and sticky, hot and bothered people tucked away behind wood fencing and bamboo plants. You know a place is good when you cannot wait to get home to check I SAW U.

Well now, Sweet Hereafter: You have proven yourself worthy of a bouncer, because you are jam-packed on a Tuesday night and I am officially cheating on Aalto Lounge. I knew it would happen some day, but I just didn't expect it to be on the same block.