Editor’s Note: Happy Repeal Week! In honor of the abolition of the 18th Amendment, we're republishing this 1992 piece in which Richard Brookhiser of National Review praises his favorite hotel bars in New York City.
A drink in the lounge of the Algonquin Hotel was the setup for the best birthday present I ever got my wife. I am terrible at presents, especially birthday presents. Christmas comes the same day every year, that I can plan for. But the effort of remembering any birthday except my own, combined with the burden of picking an appropriate present, makes the birthdays of my loved ones botched and dreaded occasions. I have forgotten my wife's altogether. Other years, remembering at the last minute, I've grabbed presents that were cheesy or drab. One year I repeated the gift I'd gotten her the last Christmas. My wife, if she chose, could ponder a long ledger of my failings.