George, where did it all go wrong? the waiter inquired with irony.
Best's name later became became a byword for self-destructive excess. Having left top-flight football behind at the age of 27, he died in 2005 at 59.
But in between the champagne nightclubs and the boudoirs of Miss Worlds (there was more than one in George's life), Best had enough fun for several lifetimes.
He was very intense with his relationships, said Malcolm Wagner, hairdresser turned nightclub boss, and a close friend of Best for 40 years. If he found one he liked, he would be all over her like a rash ... until it wore off. But he used to say to me: 'Waggy, there's nothing like unwrapping a new toffee'.
So Wagner's book, George Best And Me, charts a lust-fuelled course through Manchester in the swinging sixties and beyond, at one point finding our heroes in a swimming pool full of naked girls in Palm Springs, California.
Wagner was first introduced to Best in 1965 at Le Phonographe, one of Manchester's first discotheques. Wagner, once the front man of The Whirwinds a pop band which also included Graham Gouldman, later of 10cc opened a hairdressing salon, the Village Barber, on Bridge Street, Manchester, and Best opened a boutique Edwardia next door.
Best and Wagner were constant companions and later business partners in Slack Alice nightclub, opened in Bootle Street in 1973.
If women were always George's weakness, Wagner recalls that Best in his United heyday was full of self-discipline when it came to booze. George would certainly never go out before a match. The drinking was restricted to a couple of halves of lager in the early days, said Wagner.
As for United manager Matt Busby, he was a proper father figure to Best.
He really did not want to play for anyone else, he added. But he felt as though the team were on the decline. Bobby and Paddy and Denis and all those boys were getting a bit older and George was still in his pomp, and I think he felt players were not being brought in to replace the class of players that were there in the heyday.
Best's discontent deepened yet further after Sir Matt's departure from United. He developed a reputation for heavy drinking and disappearing acts, leaving United for good in 1974 during Tommy Docherty's time at the helm.
Best's career following United was episodic brief spells at 11 clubs, including Stockport County and three in America.
Wagner watched with dismay as his old friend went bankrupt, notched up two broken marriages and a string of very public liaisons, and resumed drinking even after receiving a liver transplant in 2002.
Drinking alcohol to excess was something George had learned to do and liked, he explained.
Comparisons between Best's freewheeling enjoyment of Manchester's social life and the lurid revelations about the sex lives of Premier League footballers today are irresistible.
The difference is that George was a single boy. He did what he wanted, said Wagner. These guys now should be brighter and know that girls are out to trap them. How they get themselves into these situations I really don't know.
George Best And Me: Waggy's Tale, by Malcolm Wagner and Tom Page is published at £18.95 by Empire. They will be signing copies of the book at WH Smith in the Trafford Centre tomorrow from 5.30pm. The book is also available discounted to £12 from empire-uk.com
Source: Manchester Evening News