Industry – #93 on the Tour

The Bar Industry

The Address 109 Water Street

The Day and the Time  Friday at 9:45 (still too early it appears for the party to be partying)

The price  Six dollars.

Did they ask me if I wanted a lime  No and I didn’t get one

What was the type of gin Well

What was the gin and tonic like Surprisingly acceptable. It had a sweet taste to it that reminded me of the times me and my college roommate Tom would drink Booth’s gin and Sprite. Not that this Industry drink had Sprite in it, but there was a feeling of soft drink about it. I don’t know why. But it was an easy enjoyable libation, no matter what the ingredients were.

The Joint What you expect from a city dance club. There was a very long and very narrow joint. Two areas. The front for drinking and chatting. The back, for drinking and dancing. The only problem with this, there was no one present but  the staff and me.

General Impressions What the hell? Its like a Twilight Zone Episode. Or a 50s SciFi movie called the Last Drinker on Earth. Wherever I go, whenever I go. I am the only person there who wants to buy a drink. I wandered around, looking for Rod Serling who will pop up behind a wall and say, “For your edification we present a tourist drinker who thinks by going to every bar in the city he lives in he is being interesting and funny, but he will be greeted by empty bars and dancerless clubs. He thinks he’s having a gin and tonic in every bar in Worcester, but in fact he is having a plastic cup full of loneliness in the bar district of the Twilight Zone.”

Okay, in all seriousness. I know it was before ten, but just barely before. And still, no one about.

Amount of Time in the Joint 10 minutes

Will I come back In some ways, its better I came when it was empty. I don’t like dance clubs with blaring music. Its not the community I search for. So maybe I was given the best possible outcome. But I don’t know if I came too early or if no one came at all. There are people who want to dance and drink and hook up. This place looked like it could be alright. But man, almost 10 o’clock and tumbleweeds. To answer the next question. No. I will not be returning.

Primo’s Extension – #92 on the Tour

The Bar Primo’s Extension – Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a winner. We have no need to continue with the rally. The winner is in. The worst name for a bar in Worcester.

This is a complicated tale to tell. I have actually been here before for the tour when it was the bar for Center Bar and Grill and then it was sold to the Primo’s and the bar was called the District. The restaurant part is Primo’s, which used to be one of my favorite restaurants on Shrewsbury Street. I loved their risotto. Now, I debated putting it on the list of bars to go to. Thinking it might be  the same as it had been.So I crossed it off the list. And then, a few weeks ago they changed the name to Primo’s Extension. Primo’s Extension? Thank you Gods of Blogging! I wanted something easy to rag on, and thou provided in abundance to your supplicant Dante.

One bartender friend said, when he heard of the new name, “They’re not even trying.” I think that’s incorrect. I think they are trying. Trying hard. Trying long. Trying for that extra inch. Trying like an ad in a 1970’s men’s magazine, where the need for extension appeared to be tantamount. Come to Primo’s, we can take care of any inadequacy, at the Extension.

Or perhaps I am being too naughty. Maybe its an extension like you didn’t finish your final exam and you con the prof to give you an extension. Or an extension from the banks. There is so much this  Green place can be, and more!!!

Okay. I’m done. And I’m slightly sorry. But how could I resist. It’s called Primo’s Extension for god’s sake.

The Address oh wow, I still have the rest of my review to do. The address is 106 Green Street

The Day and the Time Friday at 9:15

The price 5

Did they ask me if I wanted a lime He asked, do you want a lime, a lemon, or both. And then I realized that it was the same bartender from when I came seven months ago when it was the Centre. Then he gave me a lime and lemon, which I called The Donnie and Marie, a little bit Country, a little bit rock n roll..

What was the type of gin Rot gut well

What was the gin and tonic like It was bad, but not bad bad. Just not particularly memorable.

The Joint It was a non descript bar. Nothing to recall to it. There were three loud girls at the bar. One was wearing a tiny sombrero (call Vogue, the next trend has been unearthed) and one very drunk guy who talked to the bartender for the length of my stay. They talked about DUIs (aways a nice bar conversation) and bartenders who sucked who are still working. I didn’t know how I felt about listening in on such talk. Who am I kidding? I live for this mishigoss.

General Impressions It was dead. I was happy to leave. I spoke highly of the bar when I was there the last time, when it was Centre, but this time just felt sad. But, I did see several dishes passing by to the dining area and they smelled amazing. Primo’s still got it, for the food part.

Amount of Time in the Joint 15 Minutes

Will I come back Not to the Extension. But I do want to go to Primo’s, the ristorante. It smelled good and they were great back in Shrewsbury Street days.

The Lucky Dog Music Hall – #91 on the Tour

The Bar Lucky Dog Music Hall

The Address 89 Green Street

The Day and the Time Wednesday at ninish

The price 5

Did they ask me if I wanted a lime He didn’t and I didn’t get one. But that was alright.

What was the type of gin Well

What was the gin and tonic like It was in a plastic cup. It was ice from a bin. It was gin from a bottle. It had tonic that came from bottling plants deep inside Middle Earth. It was all those things and more.

General Impressions Once again, I was the only one there. This shouldn’t have been too surprising, a couple weeks ago I went here to try a gin and tonic and it was a ten dollar cover charge because bands were playing. I gave a pass. So I came up with a policy of no big cover charge for this. I am sorry, I ain’t made of money. I mean I am not getting top shelf booze here, I’m a well drink kind of guy. But I still want to get to all the bars on this tour that I can, so I wanted to try to get those cover charge joints on quiet moments. I checked out the Lucky Dog’s website where they said that on Wednesdays people come and play dominos. Okay, no cover and dominos? Sign me up!

But all I saw was the bartender watching South Park. He was Al. He was personable. He was bored. I was it for custom (poor guy). He told me that the owner usually works Wednesdays and would bring his friends over to play dominos. But the owner is on vacation so its just Al and no Dominos. We chatted. He got pizza delivered, he even offered me a slice. He works the weekend and working at a music club is tough. Some nights are awesome, some are just the band and their girlfriends. It is a crap shoot. Some nights are great, packed.

The Joint This is a rock club. It has pictures of Betty Page in the bathroom, it is the image of roadhouse glory in the middle of Worm Town. This is a place that’s about the people listening to the bands, when its empty, its just dancing in the skeleton. Its a good place. I’ve been here before to see some bands. Hell, I saw the Bindlestaff Family Circus here and that was a hell of a show. The kind of show you don’t forget.

Amount of Time in the Joint 20 minutes

Will I come back Why not. For a drink, I don’t think so. But a good band shows up, or a friend playing bass in trio, why not. This is a fun place to see bands, but its a little sad when its empty.

The G Bar – #90 on the Tour

The Bar The G Bar

The Address 62 Green Street

The Day and the Time Wednesday 8:30

The price 5

Did they ask me if I wanted a lime He didn’t and I didn’t get one

What was the type of gin Well

What was the gin and tonic like Abhorrent. Okay, that was mean. Let’s just call it sub-par

The Joint A strange confused place. It has the front of a sports/Irish Bar- long bar and tight area with tables. But in the back was a place for dancing, for boogying, for getting down with yu bad self. And to make sure that you had the realization that this was a dancing joint, there was a disco ball emitting many colored lights across the walls and the patrons. There were strings of lights around the place blaring opposition to a joint that felt like a  sports bar, a bar to watch the game in. And the bartender who felt like the owner truly wanted a sports bar. On the TV was the NFL Network’s rebroadcast of the Pats – Ravens play-off game. So what was this place. Pretty empty is what it was. Four at the bar and three at a table.

General Impressions The bartender (owner?) finished with getting me my drink (he was attentive and speedy, no problems there) and went to our side of the bar (the paying customer side) and sat with a buddy. He said he wished that the NFL was still going on. He talked about the Super Bowl, where the Pats won, dontcha know. He said there was a lot of people in then. And thank god the Pats won because all those people would have left right away if they had lost. With them winning all the folks stayed till close. They just kept on buying drinks and celebrating. And then the bartender (owner?) said “I wish we had a night like that every month. That would be great.” I am not a businessman, but let me say that hoping for a monthly Super Bowl win to generate liquor sales is a bad business plan. Get a crowd and then do better with a good sporting event. Not the other way around. It does not bode well for them. But what do I know. I am the idiot who pledged to have a gin and tonic in every bar in the second largest city in New England, my judgement should not be considered valid.

Amount of Time in the Joint 10 minutes

Will I come back No

The Citizen Wine Bar – #89 on the Tour

The Bar The Citizen

The Address 1 Exchange Street

The Day and the Time 8:45 on Wednesday

The price  8

Did they ask me if I wanted a lime  He didn’t and I didn’t get one. This shocked the hell out of me. And I Know, I shouldn’t be shocked out of anything. For such a place to not even ask and not give you one. Call the Press. Call the Police. Call Ms Manners.

What was the type of gin It was their basic gin, I didn’t catch what it was, but it was a very decent one.

What was the gin and tonic like A very nice drink. I liked it. I could tell they used Fevre Tree Tonic Water. It does make a difference. I would have liked a lime, but that’s just me being a philistine I suppose.

The Joint I ate here once with my wife and a few friends and never came back because, though the food was good, the service was terrible. I mean the waiter started snapping at us when we asked if we were going to get our food (food was coming out in dribs and drabs and we just wanted to make sure all the dribs came with the drabs) So I never returned. My wife did go again, and said the service was still kind of lousy. Can someone explain to me how bad service is accepted? I don’t get it.

But this was different for I am on my tour-quest. This was me just going to the bar. Which should be fine, and for the most part it was. Though I was the invisible man once again and getting the bartender’s attention was tough. This is slightly understandable because when I went to sit, I took a seat at the bar that was partially obscured. There were beer taps between me and the bartender’s gaze. But I was hoping he would see me. It took him five minutes to notice me. He apologized and got me my drink. There were other people around, mostly business people out for dinner and a few dates. The place is nice but relatively non-descript.

General Impressions It was interesting to notice the business people couples. They were here for work and drinking and eating and trying to get along. This is the kind of person who would go here, and for that, its seems perfect. Complicated comfort food and high end drinks. Its a nice place to be where people order Negronis. The dates were interesting too. One couple were at the bar chatting and smiling and then the guy got a call on his cell and went to the door to have a long conversation on it. The woman of the couple just did things onto her phone, texting or facebooking, she would break out into smiles while staring at the small screen of her phone, occasionally taking a bite of her food. This is how we go on dates now.

My invisible status continued when after a while I had finished my, very good, drink and waited to pay and leave. The bartender still could not see me well so I suppose out of sight….The restaurant manager saw me there and pointed me out to the bartender who then came over and took my money. Swell of him. (A brief break from the snark to say I thought the bartender was very friendly, just could not or would not see me)

Amount of Time in the Joint 20 minutes

Will I come back Nice enough drink. Nice enough high end atmosphere. Enough. No.

Shangri-La – #88 on the Tour

The Bar Shangri La

The Address 50 Front Street

The Day and the Time Wednesday at 8”20

The price  5

Did they ask me if I wanted a lime No and I did not get one

What was the type of gin It was well. The Well of Sorrow. The Well of Anger. The Well of Bad Taste.

What was the gin and tonic like Its like that old joke that was in a Woody Allen film. Two old ladies were at a restaurant eating the same meal. One of them said, “This meal is awful. Its disgusting, I wouldn’t serve this to my enemies. Its just plain bad.” And the second woman said, “Yes, and such small portions.” That’s how I felt about this mostly ice glass of supposed gin and tonic. It was really not a good drink, and then it was suddenly done.

The Joint This used to be several large Irish Bars and has been empty for several years. Its great that its being used. There is no parking around, so I don’t know how it will do, but its a large good looking place (still feels like an upscale Irish Restaurant, but that really isn’t such a bad thing). The bar is on one side of the room and there are plenty of TVs but only one keno screen. It was odd, during my stay there, a guy came over to where I was at the middle of the bar and gave the bartender his Keno slips and then went back to the table at the corner that was close to the Keno screen. He came back often to get more keno, like a migratory bird. Like a gambling addicted swallow returning to Capistrano.

For a Wednesday with much snow outside, there was a good amount of people. The bar had about 15 or so people eating, drinking, watching keno. There were three large circular tables filled with college age asian customers. My guess is that there were from one of the nearby schools. They were all enjoying the food and the company. I have eaten here at Shangri La when it was at its old location and I liked the food. It was good decent Chinese food and a friend has told me the sushi is excellent. The place gets a lot of business lunch traffic, which is nice to hear, because a place downtown is hard on a guy who has to park his car.

General Impressions Throughout my time drinking here I realized I was singing to myself. The whole time I was singing under my breath. No wonder no one wanted to sit near me. I had to listen to my own crooning to realize I was singing the Kinks’s song Shangri La. One of my favorites. You should go here and sing this song to. Here’s a link so that you will be ready when you get here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l4DJ9YUYshE. Practice Practice Practice.

As a place to gather, its alright. There was a nice selection of people at the bar, different ethnicities and ages. It was all over the place and there is not a lot of joints that do that, so it went up in my estimation. The drink was lousy, but at least it was five bucks for the honor. And the food, from what I hear is still good.

Amount of Time in the Joint 15 minutes

Will I come back I can say probably yes. I have liked their food. But parking downtown,..sheesh. It is not my favorite Asian Restaurant bar on the tour, that would be Ken Chin’s, which is crazy. But this one is alright. Now sing it with me, “Now that you found your paradise/This is your Kingdom to command/You can go outside and polish your car/ Or sit by the fire, in you shangri la.”

O’Connor’s Restaurant and Bar – #87 on the Tour

The Bar O’Connors

The Address 1160 West Boylston Street

The Day and the Time Tuesday at 12:30 (I picked this place, because it was one of the few places I could park at, what with the snow taking all the spaces)

The price 5.99

Did they ask me if I wanted a lime She did ask

What was the type of gin It was well

What was the gin and tonic like It was a good drink. It was refreshing. When people say, I like a gin and tonic in summer because its so refreshing, this is the kind of high ball they were talking about. Of course, those hypothetical people were probably drunk when they said it, so truly, what do they know. A nice drink.

The Joint Ah, O’Connor’s The big behemoth of Irish Food and Drink in Central Mass. I need to give a caveat. I have been here several times over the years, I mean, how could I not. And for the most part, I have not enjoyed it. I think the food is good, though sometimes its not, so spotty at best. But one thing I have never enjoyed is the service. It is slow, inconsistent and sometimes they are surly, and not a fun surly. When my wife, who mostly likes it, wants to go, she knows to go with friends and not me. There are too many options in the world to have to go back to a place you don’t like too much, so I don’t. Also, we have friends who love the place, but have had bad experiences there recently. And its so popular, you can wait a long time to go in and feel packed and crowded.

It is a huge gigantic place. It must have started small and just added rooms and rooms. It is covered in gallic memorabilia, but it feels authentic and heartfelt from the staff and not kitschy. It feels right all around, except for its large rabbit warren size. Its the Watership Down of Irish joints. The bar area is lovely with dark wood and a huge bar. When I went in on this, one of the many snowy days, there were about 15 people there, but the size swallowed them and it felt like no one was there but me. A few people were at the bar, eating and drinking solo. A group of teachers, off for a snow day, were at a table, talking loud about issues at their school. One of the teachers brought her two kids, but they were at their own table, ignoring their food and playing on their tablets. Even with this slow day feel, I did witness a guy at the bar get a nice looking burger, he took a bite and brought the bartender over and spoke to her. She said sorry, took the burger back to the kitchen and returned with it in a few minutes with her apologies. So even on slow times I saw some service issues.

General Impressions But no service issues getting beer and drink. They do that fine. This was a good efficient bar and she did it well. I drank my good drink and stared off thinking thoughts, perhaps on the Troubles, perhaps on where I was going to put the snow I was shoveling from my drive way later in the day. I had my elbows up on the bar, and they felt good there. This felt like a good bar to lose time in thought. I liked how it had people there, but it was quiet and accepting. I liked it on this, the off hours. Where you can be with yourself or a friend just drink nice and slow. This is not the case on the busy times,, or when getting food. But in an off hour time and the need only for a drink, I couldn’t have been happier.

Amount of Time in the Joint  15 minutes

Will I come back Yes, for the bar on weird hours of the day. Not when its busy and not for the restaurant. But its a hell of an Irish bar when you see it that way.