One Eyed Mike's 10th anniversary party

We've finagled free drinks and food at bars more than a few times, but nothing prepared us for the shock of the free spread laid out by One Eyed Mike's (708 S. Bond St., [410] 327-0445) for their 10th anniversary party last Saturday, which occasioned a visit from the French owners of Grand Marnier, or GM, the cognac that the bar is best known for: If you join the club, you pay for a bottle of the orange liqueur and store that bottle at the bar, so that it's there for you whenever you are-evidently Mike's stores them in a converted apartment upstairs. Mike's is the number-one account for Grand Marnier in the world. In the alley behind the bar, on Dallas Street, they had arranged for an outside bar; a guy shucking oysters (free oysters); a buffet that included risotto, green-bean casserole, skewered shrimp, and chicken salad on crostini; and a 5-foot-long cheese-and-fruit tray. Inside, in what is usually the dining room, two bartenders manned a table where members of Mike's GM club could get their bottle (there was a Rolodex containing the names of the 2,192 members) or enroll. We were in the front bar, contemplating ordering a shot, when a familiar face walked by, a face we've seen illustrated by Alex Fine in Baltimore City Power Rankings nearly every week. A man turned to us and asked, "Was that Michelle Obama?" No, we replied, that was the mayor. We followed her to the back alley, where a bevy of people quickly surrounded Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, clad in a black skirt and a cropped black leather jacket. When we introduced ourselves and asked what brought her out, SRB scowled a bit and replied, "I'm off." Later, as servers circulated with little plastic cups of GM, she eloquently toasted Mike Maraziti, owner of Mike's, and officially thanked City Councilman Bill Henry, also present. "I'm not sure if our relationship comes across over the TV," she said of Henry, "but it's rocky. More times than not, it's rocky. But on those times that I want to take him up like that [gesturing strangling], I remember Bill Henry got me a membership to One Eyed Mike's, my grip around his neck loosens, and I say, 'OK, we can agree to disagree.'"

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