Have you seen this woman?
Going by the name “The Cocktail Maven”, this infamous wench, this scrofulous minx, lured upwards of 30 victims into a small, dark lounge in the seamy “Stingaree” district of downtown San Diego – within the former opium den and house of prostitution named “The Quong Building” at 416 3rd Ave. – where they were subjected to hours of interesting historical stories, delicious drinks, fun conversation and camaraderie with a lively group of characters from the underworld of San Diego’s business and cultural scene.
Cornered by the Maven woman, who claimed her name was “Kristine”, I was subjected to massive warmth and personal attention I felt was undeserved. This attractive and charming red-headed female was dressed in a beautiful orange Chinese dress, and cleverly seduced me into having fun and being social. She is a wanted woman.
I was personally forced to drink two powerful margaritas, which caused me to smile, laugh, and talk uninhibitedly, engaging in pleasant conversation with total strangers, finding much common ground in our lives in San Diego (well, once I finally managed to get the barman’s attention in the din and crush of the crowd).
Next time I’ll be more alert, and arrive early for the punishment (I was late this time, and the talk about the history of the Quong Building was related only by hearsay).
According to inside sources, August’s meetup is cancelled because the Cocktail Maven has to go out of town, but no doubt more crimes will be committed in September.
A plaque on the outside of the Quong Building details the structure’s sordid past:
“The Quong Building (1913) is not only an historical structure, it has also been the site of archaeological digs. The business gets its name from Mon Yueh Quong, a businessman who operated the structure from 1889 to 1928. The building has been listed in city directories as being used as an opium den, a restaurant, and an oriental merchandise store, all during Quong’s operation. Later years saw the building used as a house of prostitution run by the infamous Mary Smith.”
A paragraph detailing the meetup group’s purpose was obtained by reading these words scratched into the walls of a prison cell: “This group is for anyone interested in the architecture and history of San Diego. The goal is to provide a comfortable social happy hour in historically significant surroundings, and perhaps increase awareness of some of the triumphs of preservationists in the San Diego area.”
Hope to see you there next time!