You recall Antonin reasoning with the rest of you as you plotted your path from the peninsular Ender's Run to Grolmin's Grindhouse, saying that it would be far more prudent to take a water taxi rather than proceed on foot. The Watch would likely be shutting down foot traffic in and out of the district with that giant frost-bitten wolf on the loose, and it would be best not to meet up with any Watchmen even on a good day.
Sure enough, as your little craft plows its way through the murky city water and the wake of other canal vessels, you see several squads of armed city guards dashing along the walkways to either side of you, running in the direction from which you've just come. They're pretty keen on getting there quickly, and don't care who gets in their way, a point proved as a burly guard shoves a slow-moving fruit vendor, cart and all, into the canal waters below.
The man lands a short distance from your boat with a hearty splash, and resurfaces just in time to hurl a string of curses as the Watchmen continue sprinting down the street above. Antonin, on the other hand, is just in time to snatch a bobbing apple from the water as the cart debris floats alongside. But a few of the smashed planks cause the boat to list slightly, and the old musician to curse and drop his apple off the starboard side just as he was about to take a bite.
"Try to keep the damned boat steady, won't you?" The old man snorts. "Barely ten in the morning, and already you're deep in your cups!"
With a muttering grumble and a curse, Antonin settles back down in the prow of the slick-bottom boat and refrains from further berating the beleaguered water taxi driver, who returns his frustrated words with an insincere smile.
"Right you are, sir, right you are... miserable old crow..."
After a few moments more of plying the waters of the canal, you round the corner of the raised stone wall and are treated to an extremely odd sight. Settled upon the otherwise featureless west side of the canal, with its high raised wall with occasional lookout towers, is what at first looks like a gigantic, two-story... beer barrel. You feel an odd sense of disillusion, and for a moment doubt your sanity, until you notice a few additional features about the huge barrel.
It has windows and doors cut out of it. There's a long-vaned windmill spinning about on its roof. And from the windmill sprouts an absolute tangle of complicated gears, belts, pulleys and other mechanical things of dubious function. The underside of the barrel, protruding slightly from the canal waterline, is even busier; there you see a pair of large wooden waterwheels, churning up a storm and carrying buckets laden with water up into the snarl of machinework up above.
Oh, yes... and there are people coming in and out of the barrel, seemingly unaware that they're participating in a work of absolute madness.
"That is Grolmin's Grindhouse," explains Antonin, pointing a knobbly, gnarled finger toward the looming container of alcohol. "It's a place for... various things. It's mostly a restaurant, these days, and a fine one at that. The owner is a good friend of mine."
As Antonin gives his spiel, the boatswain guides the water taxi over to a bustling dock under the Grindhouse. There, a pair of dwarves catch the boat's mooring rope as you pass, and begin tying the vessel up so that it won't drift away. A few other boats come and go as they finish their work, making you suspect that this restaurant is certainly an active place.
"Grolmin's Grindhouse," announces the boatswain in a cheerful tone. "You may disembark when you're ready, sirs."