Quills Queues columnists: Vickie Aldous and —

As the popularity of the First Friday Artwalk has spread, all types of businesses are getting into the act.

T's Restaurant and Bar offers its own twist on the event, one that earns top honors for its creativity and artistic flair. Each First Friday at T's, patrons can order a cocktail and release their inner artist. Or better yet, have their inner artist order it for them.

In exchange for a discount drink, T's asks that you order your beverage creatively. Sometimes it is via haiku. An anonymous request for a whiskey sour went something like this:

Jigger of whiskey

over sweet lemon and ice

cool snake with sharp bite.

Or, those who prefer the visual arts could order in 3D by creating a sculpture evocative of the desired drink. T's supplied a selection of construction paper, pipe cleaners, glue, and found items as raw materials for a masterpiece.

I was nursing a cold, so I improvised a cup and saucer from some pipe cleaners and a piece of cardboard, then cut out an oval shaped piece of yellow paper, and made a bumblebee from a Styrofoam nugget and black and yellow felt.

Voila! Tea with lemon and honey.

The server praised my arts and crafts skills and returned with a throat-warming hot toddy, which just goes to show that art is really created in the eye of the beholder rather than the mind of the artist. Tika Squires, co-owner of T's, says every event is different, but they are always creative. "We want to help get everyone's creative juices moving."

Though many were too shy to share haikus, the craft projects quickly brought them out of their shells as the spirit of competition kept the spirits flowing. There were a few ringers in the crowd, too. A Wild Turkey and soda craft (made with a wine cork and colored paper) drew gasps of awe from everyone who saw it.

For me to say it was fun doesn't take much; I so rarely go to clubs or even grown-up parties these days. But even those who get out often seemed to be having a great time.

I went with two girlfriends who also have young children. It had been awhile since any of us had put on mascara or high heels, and our scintillating-conversation skills were rusty. Yet we found ourselves chatting with total strangers as we traded crayons and admired each other's work. We all understood the language of construction paper, the thrill of a well-crafted bumblebee, and the swell of joy you feel when someone recognizes your jumble of felt and Popsicle sticks for exactly what you meant it to be.

Afterward, I started thinking about having my kids craft a lunch request some weekend.

"Boys, Mommy was at a bar and she got this really good idea. "

Join the fun at T's Restaurant Bar, 303 E. Main St., Ashland. For more information, call 488-1458