An Ode to Lawless

The first time we visited Lawless Distilling Company was in 2016. It was my birthday, but I was hardly in a celebratory mood. I had received some really bad family news just a couple of days before and it was still weighing very heavily on me. My dear wife was trying to give me the best time she could under the circumstances so she found this recently opened, speakeasy-esqe, cocktail room to take me to in an effort to cheer me up.

We saddled up on some stools at the end of the bar. The bartender on duty at the time, Adam, came over, welcomed us, and started us off with a shot of their signature “Pink Gin”. We sipped on it as we looked at the menu, yet remained deep in solemn conversation over the matters at hand. Honestly, even making a choice in that state of mind seemed an insurmountable task.

Adam sauntered over to take our order but could tell something was off. “You guys seem like the whole world is crushing down on you,” he said.

I quickly explained what was going on. I mean, if you can’t tell your troubles to the bartender…

Adam listened with compassion, took the menus out of our hands, and told us to just sit back and relax and let him take care of us. From that moment on, he took us on a cocktail journey I’ll never forget. Every single thing he made was amazing and each different from the next — yet all of it working together like a concerto of mixology. Treating us to expert hospitality with a delicate grace. Checking in on us and delivering new things at exactly the right time.

When we knew we’d reached our limit, we said so and requested the bill.

“Nope. Not tonight. This one’s on me… You’ll be back.”

We tried to pay anyway and he’d have none of it. We left him a healthy tip and come back we certainly did.

And, the thing is that our experience with Adam was not a fluke. Every single time we walked into Lawless after that we somehow were always treated like VIPs no matter if he was there or not. The hospitality experienced, especially if you were sitting at the bar, was like nowhere I’ve ever been.

We rarely visited more than every other month or so. Yet, we were always treated like regulars by everyone and thus formed genuine relationships with many of the folks working there. Adam, of course, but also Jeff and Dustin and Marco and Ethan and Olivia and too many others to list.

When they left Lawless for other bars, restaurants, and lounges, we followed them and patronized any of the new places they went. For example, we’ve followed Adam from Lawless to Alma to Martina to Mara. Dustin to Can Can Wonderland. Marco to Colita. Ethan to Stilheart.

Even though we were nobody, they treated everybody as if they were somebody. That’s the best service one could ask for and we were happy to go anywhere they were to experience it.

The last couple of times we’ve gone to Lawless, the vibe was a bit different. It had become very popular, which was good for them, but the service seemed very transactional. We no longer felt like somebody when we walked in. We felt like we could be anybody. Perhaps that was a sign of an experience coming to an end and therefore thier closing does not come as a huge shock.

It’ll be missed for sure. But in many ways I’ve already mourned it’s passing and continue to hold the memory of the good times we’ve had there with special reverence.

My wife also wrote a goodbye post to Lawless.