If you want to drink at Death & Company, you talk to the guy standing outside with the pad and pen. In winter, he'll be the one donning a puffy coat as big as a monster-truck tire. You give him your name, your cell's digits and the number of people in your party -- a number which should always be exactly two. (Seven's the max, but take a moment to picture seven liquored friends trying to divvy up a tab of several $13 cocktails.)
He'll then instruct you to go somewhere else (try Tile Bar or the McDonald's on the corner) until you get a call from him that your table's ready. This is when you kindly inform him that you'd actually prefer seats at the bar. This is how you will insure having the time of your life at Death & Co. -- and getting your money's worth.
No offense to the cocktail waitresses, but I don't drink away my monthly car-insurance premium to chitchat with them tableside once every 20 minutes. I'm looking for dinner and a show, which is what the bartenders put on nightly. These guys (and one woman that I've seen so far) are rock stars, brandishing their shakers the way guitarists thrash at their Fenders. (Given their pre-Prohibition ties, vests and shirtsleeves, I'm guessing the band they'd be in is The Decemberists.) You will soak up more cocktail knowledge from them in an hour than you will watching Cocktail 297 times; I may not remember where I left my cell phone this weekend, but I remember the name of the first-ever bartender I had there (Alex Day).
Having said all that, this cocktail may be one of the easiest on Death & Co.'s menu that even us mere mortals can successfully fashion. Have it with brunch, and use any leftover Grandma on your French toast.
The Golden Gate
(Adapted from Death & Company)
2 ounces Grand Marnier
3/4 ounce grapefruit juice
1/2 ounce lime juice
1/2 ounce B & B
2 teaspoons Campari
Combine all ingredients in an ice-filled cocktail shaker. Shake it like a rock star. Strain into snifter.