Unless you don't have a TV or eyeballs, you know who Dagmar Midcap is. As NBC San Diego's weather anchor, she provides a calming nightly presence amid the city's traditionally jokey television news. Even with a forecast that ranges from pretty nice to very nice , Midcap exudes an authority that's earned her a cult following that spans from Vancouver—her birthplace and the location of her first job in front of the camera—to Atlanta.
"I'm not a very good drinker," Midcap says. "I'm actually a lightweight. The majority of the drinking that I do is at my home by myself." She laughs. "Which is really sad."
Nah. Drinking alone? In the comfort of your own home? Now you're speaking a print journalist's language!
We sit on the patio of Eddie V's in La Jolla—one of the few establishments Midcap frequents when she does go out—and marvel at the view of the cove. Jazz floats out from inside; a couple sways to the music. A man—red and drunken—simultaneously flirts and argues politics with a woman at the bar.
"I like just getting in the corner, having a good sip of something and watching [people]," she says. "That sounds creepy. I guess the voyeur in me comes out when I'm up here."
We sip Moscow mules—she later insists on paying for them—which are stiff, basic and delicious: Russian Standard vodka, ginger beer and lime. Midcap substitutes Chopin, a potato vodka, in lieu of Russian Standard—the result of recent blood work that revealed a sensitivity to grains. Since then, she's indulged in researching grainless and nonstandard alcohol, including mezcal and Demeter-certified wines.
It'd be an understatement to say that Midcap has a storied past, and even though she admits that she didn't drink until age 30, her ability to captivate makes her an ideal drinking buddy. Hell, when a story involving an upscale gang shoot-out is your only printable bar story, you're doing something right.
"I dated this bartender, a shady character," she says. "He was the head bartender at a place called Bar None. It was in Vancouver. It was the hot new place. At the time, I was working hosting a national show in Canada—I was test-driving cars and motorcycles, which I love [DTV for all you Midcapophiles], and my boss wanted to celebrate. We had wrapped a whole season or something; we were doing well, so we wanted to celebrate. So, he said, 'Where we gonna go?' I said, 'Let's go to Bar None!'"
It seemed that the exclusivity of Bar None also attracted a bunch of high-class gangster and mafia types, who frequented the bar on the reg.
"It was a Friday night," Midcap says. "It was jam-packed. The only way we could get in was because I knew the head bartender. I took my boss there, and I was trying to make a good impression.
"Just at closing time, shots began to fire around the bar. I grabbed my boss and said, 'Go, go, go!' I knew that place inside and out for reasons that shall remain unspoken of. I grabbed him and ran out of the side doors. I remember, somewhere in the crowd I lost him, and the shots were still being fired.
"And the stupid thought that goes through [my] head: It wasn't, Was he hit? Was I hit? It was, Oh my God, what is my boss going to think of me? Do I still have a job?
"It was this old area of Vancouver that had been renovated; the streets were all cobblestone, so women were tripping all over the place because they were drunk and in high heels. You're mixing cobblestone streets and their faces. Women were falling, and it was just mayhem." Midcap laughs, shaking her head. "All I could think of was, Do I still have a job? I wasn't even concerned whether any of us had been shot."