Or, as I’m gonna dub it, the Snooze Tomb. Or maybe Booze Gloom. Granting that the Oxford Hotel’s off-lobby haunt is a dandy old time capsule—with its deep red glow & all those Art Deco trimmings,


the scalloped banquettes, the bartenders decked out in red jackets & bowties, the rootin’-tootin’ big-band soundtrack, etc. etc., it’s irresistibly Shiningesque,

so you’ll want to hang all night with Jack & Lloyd & the whole bloody gang in the cloche & stole you were wearing when you died—its affiliation with the adjacent McCormick & Schmick’s is a real buzzkill insofar as it casts a colorless corporate pall over all that crimson cool. The apparent duplication of the seafood chain’s shabby, uninspired list of wines by the glass—while undoubtedly just right for working girls’ night out when 6 pinot grigios & 13 blends of cab-merlot are in order—is a particular letdown in the kind of place where the corks on dusty old bottles of claret or some such vintage thing should constantly be popping. Same goes for the cocktail list—where are the sazeracs, the corpse revivers, the bucks & fizzes & flips? If anybody should be flaunting some mixpertise beyond a knack for making pink drinks pinker, it’s bartenders in bowties, no?

Still, I can’t deny the obvious upside—namely access to McCormick’s oyster roster.


My dear Tatamagouches, on the left, were the roughest of the bunch with their salty mini-wallop. The others were squeaky clean; the Hurricane Harbors, on the right, proved mild but meaty, like if someone replaced them with mushroom caps it might be all right, while the Hama Hamas at the bottom were as delicately edged with seafoam-flavored lace as they look, despite their enormanormity. I swiped the biggest shell as a keepsake. Look how long & thin! It’s not just a shell, it’s a Shelley Duvall. (Far be it from me to Overlook one last Shining pun, heh.)

Photo 17