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Drinks and desserts! 

Well, I tell you, it seems like nothing but decadence in the ol' inbox lately. Forget high-minded activities like growing organic spinach or signing up for a winter CSA. Curiously, my eyes skip straight over these items and travel straight to the drinks and desserts.

Apex Beverage Co. (800 W. Williams St., 877-367-9414, www.apexbeveragecompany.com) is hosting a free wine tasting featuring Spanish wines and a guest appearance by importer Andre Tamers, from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Sept. 25. It plans to begin beer tastings next month. Check the Web site for details.

Whiskey (682-6191, www.whiskeydurham.com) is now open in Durham at 347 W. Main St. Whiskey is a private club and is open Monday through Saturday for members at least 21 years old and their guests. Whiskey describes itself as "a gathering place for grown-ups," and offers specialty cocktails and liqueurs, wines by the glass or bottle and North Carolina-brewed beers on tap. Whiskey also touts its foodie location, right next to Toast Paninoteca (345 W. Main St., 683-2183, www.toast-fivepoints.com) for eating early, or just down from Bull McCabe's Irish Pub (427 W. Main St., 682-3061, www.bullmccabesirishpub.com) for eating late.

Another Durham club, The Tavern (286-POOL, www.thetaverndurham.com) has traded the suburbs for downtown. The 10-year-old bar has moved from its former home in Durham's New Hope Commons shopping center to a 6,000-square-foot space at 1900 W. Markham Ave. Like Whiskey, The Tavern is a private club. Open seven days, it offers various theme nights and activities, including karaoke, trivia, live bands and deejays. It also has darts (and dart-throwing leagues), pool tables and foosball, all in a smoke-free environment.

And now, envisioning myself with a drink in one hand and a cupcake in the other, I consider the Triangle Vegetarian Society's "Vegan Dessert Bar and Mingle" event, planned for 8 to 10 p.m. Sept. 26 at Bliss Boutique Bakery (431 W. Franklin St., Chapel Hill, 636-3090, www.blissboutiquebakery.com). The $5 admission price assures a variety of vegan cupcakes, beverages and live music. RSVPs requested; e-mail TVS President Dilip Barman (barman@jhu.edu) or call Bliss directly.

Or there's always Cupcakes for a Cause (www.cupcakesforacause.org), a national event continuing through Sept. 27, where participating bakeries donating a portion of their sales to the Cancer Care for Kids program (www.cancercare.org), which provides free, professional support services to anyone affected by cancer: people with cancer, caregivers, children, loved ones and the bereaved. Two Raleigh-based bakers are participating: BabyCakes Gourmet Cupcakes (413-7400, www.carolinababycakes.com) and Audra's Cakes and Creations (830-8811, www.audrascakesandcreations.com).

Then, if I choose to atone for my consumption transgressions (and anything else, for that matter) by honoring Yom Kippur Sept. 27 and 28, I could break my fast with challah from Great Harvest Bread Co. (229 S. Elliott Road, Chapel Hill, 932-1112, www.freshbakedbread.com). Great Harvest is selling crown challah for the occasion and offers both white and whole-wheat challah every Friday. Advance orders are encouraged.


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