American Legion Providence Street Post – #40 on the Tour

The Bar: American Legion Post

The Address 267 Providence Street

The Day and the TIme Wednesday at 11:50 in the morning

The price 2.50

Did they ask me if I wanted a lime No and I didn’t get one, but that’s okay, because the guy had one arm and I was happy we finished the drink mixing transaction.

What was the type of gin It was Gordon’s but that was through some talking and bandiage. I was asked what  I wanted and the bartender said, “Gordon’s” and there was a loud jovial guy interrupted “Tanqueray, he wants tanqueray” and I quietly said, “Gordon’s sounds good.

What was the gin and tonic like: I don’t think I ever had a one armed bartender before. Nothing wrong with that, just a new experience is all. He was slow and deliberate and at times I think he had a hard go of getting the caps off the gin (not used too much) and then he had to find some bottle of tonic to open and pour. It was a long process, not like I had anywhere to go, so patience was the sidecar of the day. He got the drink poured into a 10 ounce plastic cup and he laid in front of me and happy I was. Because it was a fine gin and tonic. This is the kind of G and T I remember having when I was a teenager and my grandmother was offended that I never had a high ball so she made a drink for me and that was the drink I was having here. It was the right mix of ice, gin and tonic. Also, the guy put more effort in my cocktail than most other practitioners of the mixing arts, so it felt practically artisanal.

The Joint: It’s an American Legion Post with a large function room and a run down bar area. It was what you want it to be. There was only a few guys there when I went in. One of the tables had a few bottles of Pepsi on it. This is where three of them sat down to play hearts. I love a place where people sit down with a deck of cards to while the day away. There needs to be more places like this. Every bar needs several Bicycle decks ready for everyone to socialize.

General Impressions The day I came in I was wearing a fedora and the loud gregarious fellow saw me and said, “Elvis Costello has entered the building.” I have rarely been mistaken for post-punk era musicians so I stopped and said, “Me?” I got a nod and I said, “Wrong accent.” I was worried going into a social club like this, my first club on the tour, and I was concerned how I would be received. After that crack, I realized my presence was alright. I drank and watched the end of Price is Right. It was a laid back place. People spend time there, lives there. They were older, they were welcome here. IT was their place after all. I was just visiting. They were happy to see me enter and wave and drink and leave.

Amount of Time in the Joint 10 minutes

Will I come back Probably not. I liked it. I liked the guy giving me guff. I liked that there is a place to play cards and feel accepted. But I have other places to do those things for me.

 

Pleasant Cafe – #39 on the Tour

The Bar: The Pleasant Cafe

The Address 318 Pleasant Street

The Day and the Time Sunday at 7:30

The price 3.50

Did they ask me if I wanted a lime He did and he took it out of a tupperware in which it was hiding out and squeezed it in for me. I could almost hear the lime slice shout “They found me! They found me!”

What was the type of gin He just made one for me with the only type of gin they had, which was Beefeaters.

What was the gin and tonic like He made a very strong drink, though a small glass thankfully. It was not a bad gin. The decent brand helped of course. I drank it quickly (get out Dante get out) so the ice didn’t have time to dilute it. Yes, the scariest dive I’ve been too had a fine drink of gin and tonic, tell the family.

The Joint Wow. You want to know what a Dive bar is like, go here. Wait, don’t go here. Just believe it without seeing, like faith. I was anxious walking in, but this silly little project I am doing is giving me more courage than I should have. I have to be at every bar in Worcester, and nothing is going to stop me. Yes. I know. I’m an idiot.

It is small, and cramped and dirty. I sat on a stool that was made during the year they discovered Naugahyde. There is a sign saying that all cash machines are emptied every night. There was no one present who walks erect, the weight of the place brings your shoulders down. By the time I finished my drink, I think I had a stoop. The bartender was fine and people left each other alone. A weathered woman sitting at a table picked country songs from the jukebox. She listened to them with stony stoicism. By the front door, shoved in a corner, was another jukebox machine. A dead one, last year’s model. Even music is unplugged here.

General Impressions I was waiting for the dessicated corpse of Charles Bukowski to amble painfully into the joint and say, “My friends, get me a beer and a shot, fuckers.” This is a place that would be better if you could smoke on premises. You would finish your days faster and see nothing past five feet from your nose. There is a need in every city and town for a joint like this. People with broken backs and broken futures need a Purgatorio to sit and drink in. There might be times when this place is dangerous, it wasn’t when I was there, just a place to wait for that damned bus that don’t ever come no more.  

Amount of Time in the Joint 10 minutes

Will I come back No. I hope I won’t. No

 

The Center Bar and Grill – #38 on the Tour

The Bar: The Center Bar and Grill

The Address 102 -106 Green Street

The Day and the TIme Wednesday at  9pm

The price Five dollars

Did they ask me if I wanted a lime No, he did not, he just put it in and not only that, he gave me a wedge of lime and a wedge of lemon. This was unexpected and unprecedented. It was more than I ever imagined possible. This was the Donnie and Marie Show of gin garnishes (it is a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll)

What was the type of gin I asked for whatever and got whatever.

What was the gin and tonic like It was fine. It had that syrupy feel that a lot of bar gin has, but I liked all the citrus I got from the Donnie and Marie (I’m trying to make it a thing) It had too much ice, but it was a nice drink.

The Joint This is a restaurant bar, but the restaurant section was closed shut, so we had a dark room with a relatively short bar. People there and it was mostly a young crowd. Country music was blaring. There were some tables and they were taken up with couples in conversation. One set of women held on to the styrofoam leftovers containers from dinner while still talking and drinking. The bartender went up to two young women and cajoled  them pleasantly into trying a shot, it was cherry, tasted good he assured them. They came in plastic cups.  

General Impressions This was an okay place where people meet and talk and drink and no doubt shout out “Whooooo” when a favorite song comes on the jukebox machine. There is a need for this young leaning bar, and this was a decent one. This might be a staging ground bar, where folk gather and plan what to do for the evening. A good receptive bartender and an adequate selection of spirits. Not my kind of place to settle roots in, but fine for what it is.

Amount of Time in the Joint 15 minutes

Will I come back No, not a slap on the face, just a statement of preference.

Tweed’s Pub – #37 on the Tour

The Bar: Tweed’s

The Address 229 Grove Street

The Day and the TIme Monday at 8:45

The price 6.95 (The print out said it was a 6.50 drink with 45 cents for the man)

Did they ask me if I wanted a lime No, he just put it in

What was the type of gin House, by request

What was the gin and tonic like. Is gin lighter than tonic? I don’t know much about bar physics. But this was one of those drinks that had more of a gin taste on top than it did on the bottom and I don’t think that it had to do with the ice melting (at least, not a lot) It was harsh to start and then got alright. Like one of those layered drinks they say is soooooo easy to do at home, yeah right. the gin and tonic certainly didn’t impress me for a drink on the pricey end of the scale.

The Joint This is a restaurant with a large bar. The bar was a long thin oval and the bartender had a lot of real estate to contend with, he did fine. There were 10 or 12 at the bar when I got there, but petered out as I went along, just like my drink.  It had sports on the tvs. He had tired waitresses wandering to the bar, cashing out.

I am getting to the end of the neighborhood and dive bar part of the tour (though some are still waiting for me) and now we turn the corner to bar-restaurants. There seems to be people who make these bar stools their own, so it is still a valid leg of the tour, but the feel is different. People are eating and  talking, there are dates going on, there is bad day at the office wind downs. It just feels like I am on a different tour now, not bad, just different. The waitresses looked tired, so did the place.

General Impressions It was mostly folks talking among themselves. I watched some baseball while trying to listen to what I think was two young people having a date, or it was two friends out for a drink with one of them (the guy) hoping for a little bit more. They talked about missing college, one talked about the lousy job he had at his father’s company. She talked about how she had to focus in life. Why do I think this was a date like thing? They both had the same colorful mixed drink. I guess that might be adorable when you are young and in lust, having the same drink, but as you get older and you want what you want and the hell with fruity drinks with umbrellas (for me, I will have a gin and tonic, thank you). I wanted to go over to the guy, when they ordered their second fruity concoction, and tell him no! No! don’t do it, have your own taste, that is more attractive in the long run. Have a beer for god’s sake. Get a whiskey neat! Do it, buddy. But of course I left before the end of the evening for those two was decided.

Amount of Time in the Joint 15 or 20 minutes

Will I come back No. The place didn’t appeal to me too much. It wasn’t a bad place, just didn’t excite me. All that wood and old feel. I was happy to check out a place I have never been, but if I ever came back it might be to try the food, not to settle down on a bar stool.

 

Park Grill and Spirits – #36 on the Tour

The Bar: Park Grill and Spirits

The Address 257 Park Ave

The price $5.35 (yeah, when you are in a “restaurant bar” I guess you get kooky prices.)

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

What was the type of gin It was just well gin, like I asked for.

What was the gin and tonic like It was filled with ice and good intentions. It was decent enough, nothing great, but I must say that 36 stops on the tour means a lot of bar gin has been consumed by your kindly Dante. I am begninng to dread that first sip. This was not great, but it was okay. For a nice summer’s afternoon, it was alright.

The Joint I went into the bar area. The windows were open and the tables set up by them were occupied with folks taking in the sun and the nice day. They were eating. The bar had a few people as well, mostly people sitting by themselves eating and have a drink or two. One of the HiDef televisions was showing horse racing. Horse racing. What a surprising throw back, I was expecting people in fedoras chomping on unlit cigars furiously scribbling on this day’s racing form. For me, I dug it. People drank beer and debated over what the next appetizer to order should be. There was a lot of good city air and mid day light that I had to contend with as I had my drink.

General Impressions: This tour is teaching me a lot about myself and things I like. First, I still like to go to bars, which is a pleasant discovery. But I don’t like bars that has too much light. Actually, I like a well lit room so that I can read the paper or the menu, but I think its natural light coming from the open patio seating that I am against. I go to bars to leave the world behind, I don’t want to see the world outside on the sidewalk of Park ave. This might just be me. Most of the people here on this 2:30 on a Saturday afternoon, were eating, either alone or in groups. Those eating alone were at the bar, natch. All in all, about 15 or so at the bar area. I just wanted to be further protected from the light and the world outside. What can I say, when it comes to bars, I am a classicist.

Amount of Time in the Joint 15 minutes

Will I come back Maybe, it was a comfy place, I can see myself getting some food and a beer at the bar if I was around. I would not be averse to that.

The Nines – #35 on the Tour

The Bar: The Nines

The Address 136 Millbury Street

The price 5.75

Did they ask me if I wanted a lime She did

What was the type of gin As the always harried, always breathless bartender said to me in a whirlwind, “Will Tanqueray be okay. It’s got to be okay, its the only gin we got.” I told her that that would be fine. And then she was off trying to make it and keep her balance in her way to tight and way too short black dress.

What was the gin and tonic like Like a Jersey barrier/ I don’t know what that means, but I feel I have to be colorful and obscure to hide the fact that i had an almost decent though dull drink. It was just there, directing traffic..

The Joint Can I call this place odd? I can? Well this is an odd place. Its got some floor space. It presents as run down, but its a spacious run down. There is a pool table in the back corner and it doesn’t encroach on the precedings. The thing that does encroach is the square shaped bar, with the booze in the middle. The poor bartender has to run laps in a ever more desperate circles to get everyone their drinks. Let’s talk about the bartender for a moment. She was nice and friendly, but she dressed like a suburban mother out in the big city ready to have a tawdry affair. She wore a very short black dress with a mesh back. This was so odd. I mean this is a borderline dive bar and she is dressed for clubbing. There are tired men drinking near me. On the other side of the bar are a gaggle of women talking loudly about husbands and boyfriends, pausing occasionally to have group toasts and cheers. Men were playing pool. A man and a women were talking about kids these days with the woman saying that if she ever had kids she wouldn’t let her hypothetical daughter where that kind of make up. no sir.

General Impressions After several loud country songs, another song began to play from the speakers. A guy recognized the song from the first chord and stared anger at the bartender and said, “Who the fuck played this.” A woman nearby said, “It wasn’t me.” Then the song started in earnest and there was the song, “What Does the Fox Say” in all its sublime glory. While listening to the song, I just looked at the people around the bar, and couldn’t put the two things together. Though some of the women at the other side of the bar were singing along, maybe I know how picked it on the juke box. When the song was over, no music followed it. As if nothing was worthy to follow. As if everything was said, and lets just be quiet and drink our drinks.

Amount of Time in the Joint Fifteen minutes

Will I come back What does the tourist drinker say? No, no no no no no.

 

The Dive Bar – #28 on the Tour

The Bar: Dive Bar – you gotta love the name

The Address 34 Green St

The price Eight dollars (crikey)

Did they ask me if I wanted a lime He just put it in

What was the type of gin I don’t know, they just made it

What was the gin and tonic like Okay, this is was not a bad drink….at first. As I was drinking and talking to Bartender Bart, I suddenly had a weird realization. There was a different flavor to the gin and tonic. I sipped. I sipped again. And yes, there was a black licorice flavor. Like zambucca or uzo, or any of the other anise flavored drinks that I avoid with nimble ease. I looked at Bart and asked if there was any gin that had a anise flavor. He couldn’t figure it out. So, the drink wasn’t bad, but it didn’t taste like gin. Weird.

I talked to Bartender Brian after the fact and the only thing he can guess is that some zambucca or something so flavored splashed on the ice container and that ice made it to my drink. I think that’s as good an explanation as any, but let me also state, I paid eight bucks for a two ingredient cocktail (not counting the lime) please let it taste of those two things only.

The Joint This is a high end drinking hole, built in the bones of an old gin mill. I was here once fifteen years ago when it was a dive. Now it is snazzy and there was a bunch of people at the tables out back. Not too many in the bar area, which was fine because it was tight. Dark and cool looking, though this was an unpleasant humid night (Wednesday for point of fact) There were people sitting by themselves, which is a nice thing to be able to do at a bar. There was a young woman sitting near me gazing at her phone. She looked really sad and unhappy about something, I hope it was not me sitting near that put her in such a funk. This maudlin feel was odd in the setting, like they should have been playing old country songs about the dog running off with the truck or something.

General Impressions I went in and there was a dead night feel and I was about to leave and come back another day so that I could get a better sense of the place. People really like this joint and I wanted to get a good reporting of it for the tour. But as i was about to split and try again at another bar, I saw Bartender Bart who was out with a friend. I sat down and we chatted. I got my drink, and I stayed. He knows about the tour and he and his friend went on about all the weird places I have to check out. There is a chinese restaurant lounge that sounds absolutely bonkers. He went on about an almost bar fight at Jak’s Pub with a local drunk. There were many funny stories about bars that were not the one we were in. I had a great time chatting,, but it felt like it was in spite of the present location and not because. The bartender was not very present and I got no vibe on the joint pro or con. It was a place where we talked about other places that I might like to be. It was a strange stop on the tour, but it felt more like a staging ground and not a place to be. Maybe it was the sad girl near by, maybe it was the star anise flavored gin and tonic, maybe it was my antsy mood brought on from the muggy bar, but I got nothing out of it.

Amount of Time in the Joint 20 minutes

Will I come back Nah. I can see myself following a friend who wants to go in for a fine beer, but I don’t think I will initiated a trip there.