marionsmartinis.jpgNow, you know us, we'll drink to anything- Tuesday, pandas, a subway ride without a man exposing himself to us- but recent events have really made us wonder if we shouldn't be doing more with those dollars.

This weekend, Marion's Continental, an institution in it's own right, is helping us help others. Ten percent of the total receipts of the long weekend that started last night will be donated to the Red Cross in an effort to aid the victims of Hurricane Katrina. That ten percent, penny for penny, will be personally matched by Marion's owner Richard Bach. He writes, ...Please come in or find a way to support the really suffering people of the Katrina disaster. It hits close to home and hurts more that way sometimes. Many of our staff, over the years, have come from that region. New Orleans has brought me personally many great memories. It's an extraordinary city, unique and important to American diversity. Let’s get her back.In the past Marion's has given to many other urban and envoirmental causes including but not limited Housing Works(in conjunction with their Fashion Brunch), many AIDS charities, Clean Ocean Action and last year's tsunami relief. While not exactly charity last fall, we cried into our martini glasses on election night there as the staff offered a free shot (of Same Sex Marriage- Mt Gay Rum, Triple Sec, fresh lime juice and mashed ginger) to anyone who voted.

And the cocktails are worth every cent. Established in 1950 and re-established in 1990, the restaurant and bar have been dedicated to the cocktail lounge aesthetic. Photographs of Marion's history are lovingly hung on every wall and entertainment like The World Famous Pontani Sisters is scheduled most evenings. The relaunch 15 years ago came at a very opportune time, Richard Bach said when we spoke to him, because it was at that point that the "devolpment from classics to new inventions." The well-trained and lovely staff can make amazing Metropolitans, Suburbans but our favorite is the French Martini (Stoli limon, pineapple juice, kissed with chambord), a delicious and frothy confection that we once chose over birthday cake.

We're staying in the city over the weekend and plan to belly up to the bar brunch and dinner. Join us. You can even throw your drink on us as long as you've paid for it. Blood orange cosmos would go best with our hair.

If you know of any other restaurants or bars aiding the relief effort, please let us know.

Marion's Continental
354 Bowery, near East Fourth Street
(212) 475-7621