Cold nights make for hot times

From inside Cypress Street Pint and Plate, you couldn’t tell if it was the weekend or a Wednesday night.

Outside, roughly an inch of ice covered by slush had the city stuck in an adult snow day. Packs of 20-somethings — perhaps even early 30-somethings — wandered Midtown, some posing for smartphone-snapped portraits in the middle of usually busy thoroughfares.

By eight that evening at Cypress, you couldn’t find a place to sit. People filled tables as soon as they came open. You could hear the din of the crowd from a block away.

Cypress closed at its usual time, 2:30 a.m. By noon the next day, the bar was packed again.

Reached by phone, general manager Ryan Crocker said Cypress had one of its 10 best nights ever Wednesday. It racked up more than $5,000 in just bar sales — about twice an average night’s take.

There are few things more universal than the isolation a snowstorm brings. And there are few things more powerful than a need to be around others.

But Midtowners who followed that urge found few places to congregate. Save for a tiny martini bar on West Peachtree and Abercrombie, and an adjacent hotel restaurant catering to trapped travelers, Cypress was it.

Even The Cheetah locked its doors. You know things are serious when the strip club is shuttered.

Down North Avenue, in Poncey-Highland, Manuel’s Tavern opened early on Wednesday (10:30 a.m.) but closed in the same fashion (7 p.m.).

“We had a whole group of people, an entire office group that was working from home, and they decided to do it here while they ate hot dogs and chili,” said Brian Maloof, the bar’s owner. He’s spent the past three days living out of an apartment above the restaurant. (“I don’t want people to think I was put out … I have a washer and a dryer and the whole deal.”)

As he opened Wednesday, Maloof said, he posted a note on the place’s Facebook page advertising a free pint for anyone who came in within the next hour.

Within 20 minutes, he poured the first pint. By 11:30 a.m., he had given away about 20 free beers.

For some, the cold (perhaps enhanced by the approach of Valentines Day) felt like the perfect impetus to shack up.

“Well, I think people have more obvious time when work is cancelled,” says a 28-year-old Atlantan, who only offered her first name, Katie, in a message on the online dating site OKCupid.

“I currently have 109 unread messages. Some are nice, some are creepy, some have grammatical errors that I can’t even begin to decipher, and some I haven’t even bothered to look at.”

Racheal Borgman, 27, of Decatur, said she noticed lines of men, Monday night, at the Kroger in Edgewood, buying wine, and roses, and, of course, condoms.

“Almost every guy I’ve met on OKCupid has suddenly resurfaced, texting to see if I need provisions, a bottle of wine, someone to cuddle with, a snowball fight,” she says. “And everyone has a fail-proof opener for their messages today: ‘You surviving Clusterflake v2.0?’”

A guy she met over OKCupid — a handsome National Guardsman — brought her her beer and wine, which she did not decline. “I missed (making it to) the liquor store,” she explained, “so this was an important delivery.”

Borgman kissed him, passionately, on her doorstep. He went back to work. They’re getting together this weekend.

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