A Pregnant Pause

Drink heavily and don't worry. That baby will be fine.

"If it's a boy, I'm going to name him Johnny Walker Black," I said to my friend Lola as I patted my pregnant belly. We were leaning back on the large, wooden bar inside Barracuda Raw Bar & Grill (3035 Fuller St., Coconut Grove) so the crowd could see my Jiffy (about to) Pop stomach. "And if it's a girl. I want to name her Ambien, because that's how she was conceived."

"Dude!" a short, squat kid with a burly bird's nest of a beard said to a friend while gesturing my way. "That girl is totally pregnant."

After the bartender plopped down a fresh, foamy beer and I chugged it, his taller, darker, and frattier buddy added, "Dude, that girl is totally drinking."

Alvaro Diaz-Rubio

Details

Barracude Raw Bar & Grill: 3035 Fuller St., Coconut Grove; 305-448-1144. Cielo Garden & Supperclub: 3390 Mary St., #166, Coconut Grove; 305-446-9060. Fat Tuesday: 3015 Grand Ave., #260, Coconut Grove; 305-441-2992. Oxygen Lounge: 2911 Grand Ave., Coconut Grove; 305-476-0202

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They had a right to be shocked. Just last week, top British health officials strongly recommended that knocked-up chicks avoid alcohol for the first three months. And according to Pregnancy.org, mamas-to-be should steer clear of turtle poop, sushi, litter boxes, hot dogs, and — of course — whiskey. "Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)," says the site, "is the worst-case scenario, leading to severe retardation and other abnormalities."

Armed with these severe warnings, I rented a pregnancy pad — you know, one of those fake bellies that guys wear so they can empathize with their Orca-like wives. Then I stuffed a push-up bra to overflow, put on my tightest dress, and waddled (in sensible shoes) over to Coconut Grove around 10 p.m. on a Friday night.

Why? Just to see how people would respond when I downed a few.

Not long after I threw back the beer and shocked the dudes at Barracuda, a parade of uniformed City of Miami Fire-Rescue workers walked in. One with a head of gray hair that aged his youngish face stopped in front of me.

"Oh!" I said. "Baby just kicked!" Lola cooed and rubbed my belly.

"We should take a picture of this moment," she said, busting out a digital camera and snapping a shot as I raised the rim of the glass to my lips.

Mr. Fire-Rescue smiled nervously.

"So, what are you guys doing here?" Lola asked him. We three proceeded to chat about liquor licenses, fire violations, and how lovely Buffalo, New York, is in the summertime.

"That's water you're drinking, right?" the officer finally asked, arching a brow over his pale green eyes.

Before I could answer, Dude One swooped into our conversation. "No, it's apple juice," he said sarcastically.

"Yeah, apple juice from a keg," I said.

The room went silent. Dude One and Two froze as Mr. Fire-Rescue stared down at the floor and then walked away to join his co-workers.

Across the bar, a scruffy group in baggy cargo pants abruptly cheered after one of them landed a Ping-Pong ball in a filthy glass of beer, shattering the silence.

"I just want the baby to get used to boozing it up," I continued, "because once I squeeze this puppy out, I'm giving it a bottle of brandy every night so I can sleep in peace."

"You should also put Jameson's on his gums," said Dude Two, "you know, whenever you want him to stop crying."

Convinced the folks at this joint were more concerned with beer pong than breast pumps, we headed to Cielo Garden & Supperclub (Streets of Mayfair, 3390 Mary St., #166, Coconut Grove). It's a chic spot that caters to clientele with bucks to burn. The older patrons, I figured, would be more risk-averse.

"Would you ladies like to join us tonight?" the doorman asked as we sauntered by. I looked down at my stomach and then at him.

Definitely.

As soon as we walked inside the clean, white, blue-beaded lounge, I made a beeline for the bar. Without a word of protest, the bartender poured two full glasses of Grey Goose and splashed each with a squirt of tonic.

We joined the crowd, which was salsa-dancing the night away, and I busted out my hottest moves for the DJ. He gave me a quick, burning glare and then focused a little too intently on his turntables. The pregnancy was a turn-off. But the guy dancing behind me was feeling my sexy beast groove. With some ass-shaking, I lured him in, and just as he was about to press his manhood into the space between my butt cheeks (seriously, guys, what's up with this move?), I turned around.

He danced in the other direction.

Lola pointed to three men in their early thirties who combined were wearing about a gallon of cologne. They were staring at me with brows furrowed and arms crossed over their pastel button-down shirts. I faced them, balanced my drink on my stomach, threw my arms in the air, and slurped it all up.

"That's disgusting," one mouthed.

Next on our list was Oxygen Lounge (2911 Grand Ave., Coconut Grove). "Now that's what I like to see!" said a guy with a gold grill standing out front. "You're going to be a total MILF, girl. I like that nothing's holding you back from having a good time."

Then the bouncer stared at me with a mouth so wide open it could have caught dragonflies ... or maybe even dragons.

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