The Return is Over

Hi, Dante here. This was fun. 13 new bars in Worcester. I wrote about them. I drank gin and tonics. Things are good in the universe.

I think I will go back into my secret lair and perhaps reappear for another go at new places.

I have enjoyed returning, and I really enjoyed allowing myself a different way of writing these up. I hope you liked reading them.

I want to keep on writing about the Worcester bar scene, but I haven’t figured out if I want to keep on doing what I have been doing or try a different approach. I am still unsure.

The answer will come when i return in a few months.

Keep going out. Keep discovering. Keep Gin and Bearing It.

Thank you all so much for reading and commenting. It has been a pleasure


Quinn’s Pub – #13 on the Return Tour

I wrote five hundred words about my stay at Quinn’s and it came out the way I wanted to and then right before I hit the publish button, I deleted it. It was gone.

With these essays, I don’t write them ahead of time. I write them on the wordpress page and send it out. The faster the better. This has worked but I pressed the wrong damned button and now I don’t want to write it again.

God bless the classic rock musicians who sings the same ten songs to ever graying audiences for the last twenty five years.

That’s stamina. Me? I can’t write about the same bar twice.

But the place was fine so it deserves a little bit of comment. I went on a Thursday at four and it was two thirds full. It seemed like the clientelle just finished work and were enjoying the keno and the beer. Its big and clean and bright enough to not qualify for Irish Pub Status.

The Gin and Tonic was fine, six bucks. It’s a bar. People drink there. If you want, you can go there. If you don’t want, there is always three dollar bottles of wine at Trader’s Joes.

The original essay was pretty funny. Believe me. This one has words.

Quinn’s is located at 715 West Boylston Street

Makoa Family Restaurant – I have finally been refused service!!!!

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It was bound to happen. I just can’t believe that it took so long. i have been to 166 bars through out this endless tour of the liquor license joints of Worcester, trying to get a gin and tonic. In all that time, no matter what the place was like, they always served me. It was never a problem. One of the places gave me a Gin and Coca Cola instead of tonic, but still they tried to accomodate me. All tried to give me some kind of beverage for my money.

Until today!!!!

I must say I am practically giddy.

At this point, somewhere in the third year of this tour, I really didn’t think I was going to be refused service. I thought that I could say that every place in Worcester, despite reputation would make me a gin and tonic. It was kind of boring and utopian when you think of it.

Well thank goodness for Makoa Family Restaurant.

Yah! We have drama!

Here is how it worked. It was nine on Wednesday night. The place was still opened. I figured I should peak in to see if they have a full bar, they used to not have one. They did. I walked in. I feel comfortable walking into any bar now (the benefits of being on this tour) and a guy asked me if he could help me. I asked if I could have a gin and tonic. He said sure and told me to take a seat at the bar. I did.

In my head, I was composing what the first part of my write up would be. I do that. I start casting around for a hook, a drunk, a strange piece of furniture. Something to embrace or mock or both. A large muscle guy went behind the stick, put his hands down on the bar and said, “What do you want?”

“Gin and tonic please.”

Without a pause he said, “We don’t have that ”

I was incredulous, I looked to see if I could find gin, but I was having performance anxiety and couldn’t see a gin bottle. “Really,” I asked, “you don’t have gin and tonic?”

“We don’t have it.” His hands were down on the bar, as if to say, this is mine and you better believe me when I speak to you.

Is it possible they didn’t have gin or tonic. It is possible. But he didn’t ask me if there was anything else he could make me? He just waited for me to leave. Which I did. I said thanks and left. I had a smile on my face and bounce to my step.

I was finally refused a drink!!!

A great day for this blog and for blogdom in general. I like to that all the people who made this possible.  I always thought this would happen a lot during this exercise, but as I said, bars want to sell drinks and they don’t usually chose who is worthy. In most places, if you possess currency of the realm and have the where with all to be able to stay seated on a barstool, then they will serve you.

But not Makoa Family Restaurant. Here’s to you. Stick to your principles! Be yourself. Don’t clutter your establishment with riff raff such as myself.

A great day!

Frank’s – #12 on the Return Tour

This is not a review. This is a statement of place.

I am at a bar drinking a gin and tonic. I do not know what bar it it, it could be Frank’s, it could be Rivalry’s which is what it was before, it could be Jeff’s, which is what it was before that. They are all the same it seems.

It is Sunday at 7 and a band named Soup is playing the hits. IT could be the Doors, it could be Mumford and Sons. It could be a living embodiment of Classic Rock Radio come to flesh.

The bass player has a wireless set up and every now and then he walks among the crowd of middle aged weekend bikers and their women, though he does not interact with them. He probably has to get his ten thousand steps on his fitbit, that might be why.

The place is well busy with bikers ending the weekend. This is the nineteenth hole for the Harley set. The gin and tonic was seven dollars. Most are drinking bottles of beer. There are several boxes of pizza set up on a table and it looks like its free for everyone. Of course I ain’t going to risk it. I might not be included in the slice club. You can never trust supposed generosity.

There are couples at the bar pushing into each other like they are teenagers meeting the crush of their life. They are singing the words to the Paul McCartney song to each other.

An older couple come and get up to dance at every other song.

There is nothing about this place that is bad for those who want to be here. I am once again not on that list.

This is not a review. This is a hastily scratched note of rescue rolled up and placed in an empty bottle of GIlbert’s Gin and then thrown threw the waves, hoping for discovery.

Frank’s is located at 274 Shrewsbury Street

Terra Brasilis Restaurant – #11 on the Return Tour

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Hermit crabs do not grow their own shells. They find a shell that will fit them and their growth and use their abdomen to stretch out and form a tight bond with the shell. They need to do this because their abdomen is the most vulnerable part of their anatomy, so they need a shell, any shell to protect it. As they get bigger, they must give up their shell and find another, one that isn’t snug and looks good at school. They usually use abandoned sea snail shells, but they will use wood or rock if they must in a pinch. Even cans or cups have been used.

Terra Brasilis is a new restaurant in Worcester. It is a Brazilian restaurant. It is housed  in what for years was Picadilly Pub. It offers authentic Brazillian food and smelled good and on Sunday night there were a good amount of people trying the cuisine.

I was at that Picadilly Pub several times, it was my go to place for food when I couldn’t decide where to go. I even spent time at the bar. So I am familiar with what it was like.

Terra Brasilis changed nothing. They just found the shell and stretched their belly to fit.The pale wood, the odd seating system, everything seamed the same. The bar is the same as well, a large wooden slab. I had a strange moment of vertigo, wondering where I was. Was I in a new Brazilian joint in 2016 or was I getting a boneless buffalo wings and an over salted bowl of old popcorn at the Picadilly in 2003?

This is not the first time I have been at a hermit crab bar. Where the shell is the same though they sing and dance and say how different it all is. It makes sense. Starting a bar or restaurant is a tough thing to do, and if there is a decor already there, then what the hell, let’s keep it and it will all work out. I mean they know we are new and hip and so so so different.

The only thing different at the bar that I could see was that the tvs were showing Soccer rather than football or basketball highlights.

I had a gin and tonic, the gin was Tanqueray and it was a nice drink. I can’t remember what price it was, but it wasn’t a lot. The place was nice, the staff was nice, the people eating seemed happy going up and getting the incredible meats and sides.

I just wished it looked like itself, and not like the place it used to be. It’s like dressing up your current girlfriend to look like your ex.

I wish it well. I hope the people find it and like it. I hope it sheds its old tight shell. ANd find something that fits them well.

Terra Brasilis has other restaurants in Framingham. This is their first in Worcester. It can be found at 480 Shrewsbury Street.

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Antonio’s Pizza – #10 on the Return Tour

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Jeff saw me and asked why I ain’t writing this blog, and so for you, Jeff, here it is.

Last Sunday I hit a few places for Gin and Tonics (a drink so important I capitalized it, like it is a state capital of cocktails) and this was the first one.

Antonio’s is a pizza by the slice place in Amherst, Ma that was great when I was a student there back in the Paleolithic Period. It didn’t have a lot of seats and you waited in an endless line to get your crazed slice. A while later they opened a full restaurant version in Belchertown, and now we have it in Worcester.

I was excited for it. The pizza looks as good as it was when I was drunk and 22 and looking for something greasy to soak up the bad beer I interned in my stomach.

But  I was not here for the pizza, but for the drink. The place is large and confusing. The front is the pizza by the slice and people were bottlenecking there. The rest was the restaurant and there was room to breathe.

Now let me preface this by saying the next day I took my son there for pizza and we had a great time and he really loved it, so did I. I recommend the place, I do.

Just don’t go to the bar for drinking only.

The bar experience, as a place where you go not to eat and drink, but to drink only, like reasonable men do, was lacking. The stools were an abomination. They are weak metal, to give that honky tonk feel, and not comfortable to sit on. But I bring up the stools because they are tight together and to pull them out causes loud, attention causing, screeches to get it so you can sit and order a drink.

Now the gin and tonic was around six fifty and I got a lime with it and that, that is all the good I can say.

Friends, if you order a drink that has a carbonated element, like tonic water, then you hope for them to actually be carbonated. IF they are flat, it is a disaster of drinking.

Yeah, the drink was flat and it was work to finish.

The bartender was nice and the experience was fine and like I said, the pizza is good and that should be enough for every good citizen.

I will say that it’s good. But it ain’t a bar. A bar is a brilliant beautiful thing, and a good pizza joint doesn’t have to elevate themselves to bar status to be worthwhile.

So there Jeff. I wrote one. Lay off.

Antonio’s Pizza and Bar is located at 286 Chandler Street.

The Sloshed Mailbag

I haven’t done this before, included reader comments in the main part of the blog, but this comment given to me will be in a post from 2 years ago and I think it should be read.

Two years ago this week I went o McDonald’s Tavern that’s in the Worcester Fitness Club and I wrote up kind of a snarky take on the place. Filled with older patrons and smelling of chlorine. It was a long piece about how it made me feel hollow and ready leave.

Crissy wrote in with this and it illustrates the purpose for a bar. It is a place that you feel right in. It doesn’t matter if I feel right in it, just that the people who need it discover and utilize the space. There are good bars that are just not my place, and conversely there are a few stinkers I secretly love.

Anyway, here’s Crissy.

I had to giggle when I read this post….

My dad is one of the older gents you may have seen at the bar. And I had to take the chance to share another perspective about this bar.

My dad is 68 years old and visits the fitness center 6 out of 7 days a week (he golfs on the 7th day 😉 Each day he looks forward to his 1.5hr workout and then his hour of socializing by having a beer with his buddies at this bar.

The other hours of his day are filled with being the primary caretaker of my mom who has advanced Alzhiemers. A woman who really should most likely be in a care facility at this point but my dad just won’t allow it….he says it will break his heart to have to leave her there.

His time is extremely limited because of the amount of care mom needs and it’s difficult for him to fit in anytime for himself… this situation really works for him!

My main objective in mentioning all this is just to say how thankful I am for this tavern…’s the only part of my dads day sometimes where he can find community and connection.

So just another side to consider when people experience the clientele who frequent McDonald’s Tavern