Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Case of the Two-Dollar Bills at Little Branch

June 2

It was another one of those hectic Monday mornings when Elizabeth Licata came to the door of my cubicle and held in front of my face an unfamiliar yet not entirely strange bit of currency and said:

"Little Branch is giving two-dollar bills for change!"

"Huh," I said, realizing what the strange bit of currency was. "They just gave it to you as change?"

"Well, I went there with a group of friends and it wasn't just me, but three other people got it too."

What did this mean?

At this point whether or not this was a coincidence wasn't really a doubt or worry in my mind. What I was really curious about was where were they even getting two dollar bills?

"I don't think I've even seen one since I was, like, 12," I said my voice rising for some unknown reason. "Either way, I think I'm going to check it out myself."

Was I really going to a bar to see if they really had out two-dollar bills? Seriously? Yes, seriously. As a great hero of our time, Leroy "Encyclopedia" Brown, once said, "No case too small."

Besides I hate being left curious. For all I knew, it was probably pretty old news, but nothing super concrete was coming up in Google and I wanted to see it with my own eyes or get some kind of confirmation on my own. If it's within my means to figure something out, I probably will. I like to think I have an inquisitive mind. Others probably think "nosy" fits the bill a bit more.

To see how Encyclopedia Brown solved the mystery of the two-dollar bills, read the next section

"You know," I thought as I sipped on a Whiskey Fix at Little Branch. "This place is kind of made for summer."

Obviously, you could get yourself a cold drink. The crushed ice in my Whiskey Fix was frosting the glass and metal spoon/straw combo was doing a great job of delivering chilly alcohol to my mouth. On top of all that, the place was nice and cool thanks to being subterranean.

I managed to spot a familiar face working the front and eventually figured out that it was Vito who I'd seen at Taste of the Nation. Sweet, I had someone on the inside I could ask.

"So a co-worker was here before and she told me you guys have two-dollar bills?" I cautiously asked once we'd gone through the formality of piecing together how and why we looked familiar to each other.

"Yea, we do," Vito answered. "We've been doing it for about six months now."

Vito said it worked both as a trademark of sorts and just ease of operations. It was a bit of a "throwback" as he put it, and it helps with making change since Little Branch is cash only and the cocktails are $12 leading to a lot of even numbered check tallies.

"But...where do you get two dollar bills?" I followed up.

"You just go to the bank and ask them for it."

"Wait, really? The bank just has a stash of twos?"

"Pretty much. Most people don't know that."

Well, that explains that rather anticlimactically.

Did I get any twos as change? Nope, but then again the claim to fame isn't that the place deals entirely in twos. It's more like something extra to make you remember the place. I'm sure it still falls under the realm of what makes easy and logical change. It also probably depends on how much twos they actually have on hand. My change came out to six bucks and I got a single and a fiver which makes more sense than trying to dole out three twos. Either way, if for whatever reason you find wanting a two-dollar bill, you should stop by the place and see if you snag one.