New to Roadfood, from Texas, been in CT for 8 yrs now. Nice to meet ya’ll. The east coast straw thing comes from 2 sources. 1st, before our time, according to locals, back in the speak easy days, a "lady" or a "gentleman" never swigged from a bottle, they used a straw. A local waitress tells me, the reason the tradition continues is, people think that if the rim of the glass isn’t clean, the straw is protection. (Remember those paper toilet seat covers?) As far as the little top hat left on the straw, thats to show that the server didn’t touch the part of the straw going into your mouth. Now don’t you feel safer?