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Bar Visit: The Hotsy Totsy Club in Albany, California

Last week I finally made it to the Hotsy Totsy Club in the East Bay. I've been hearing a lot about this bar mostly from its (mostly female) bartenders who've been kicking butt in cocktail competitions in San Francisco. 

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The bar has been around since 1939 but looks shiny and new with a pressed tin ceiling and great colored lighting. It's just one small room with a bar on one side and tall communal tables in front of it. There's a tabletop shuffleboard game and a jukebox that plays 45s. The selection was pretty random, playing punk rock and disco. 

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Of the four bars I visited on a Wednesday after New Years the Hotsy Totsy was by far the busiest. The crowd was young and casual-hip (Fernet hoodies) and I'm glad there are smoking laws as you get the impression that it would be an impenetrable cloud in there. 

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The drink program is progressive- they have Kold Draft ice, a bottled cocktail, cinnamon-infused vermouth, and a secret eggnog recipe. 

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I'm not sure how it all came together out in the East Bay, but Hotsy Totsy is a special place to make stubborn urbanites like me a *little* bit jealous that we don't live nearby. 

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Get Camper's Book: Tonic Water AKA G&T WTF.