Loft 266 – #42 on the Tour

The Bar: Loft 266

The Address 266 Park Ave

The Day and the TIme Friday at 8

The price 5

Did they ask me if I wanted a lime No, I just got one

What was the type of gin It was well gin

What was the gin and tonic like It was alright, just alright.

The Joint This used to be many things, but I remember from years back it being the Above Club. What a sad place I remember that being. No one there, ever. Its on a second floor and now its very schmancy. The center of the space is the bar and two women were tending, they were wearing black. I need to tell you this, because I was the only one not wearing black in the place. There were 10 people there and I had a red shirt on, I felt like an unbeliever to a cult I forgot to join. Black never goes out of style, but that’s the kind of place this, stylish, baby. Okay, just a little bit sarcastic. A guy was in the corner with a guitar singing songs, I didn’t recognize them so they were either originals or I should branch out from listening to the all Gregorian Chants station on my radio. He was fine and had a decent voice, he was the guy you talked over to have a conversation. Folks were having food, and they kept on coming in while I was there. All in black shirts (did I miss something in the invitation?) The place is clean and shiny. It has cool cat ambience. But to me, I didn’t buy it.

General Impressions A group were talking at the end of the bar about working at the DCU Center and how there is nothing booked in the summer. Others were gathering to check folk out or be checked. The people coming in were well put together. The evening might have turned into a raucous bacchanal, with hook ups happening and glances gazed at. I couldn’t shake how pre-fab, how constructed this place was. There was nothing organic here. I was sitting in a piece of marketing. But then my drink was done and so was I.

Amount of Time in the Joint 15 minutes

Will I come back No, I’m fine and have a nice day.

Ralph’s Tavern – #41 on the Tour

The Bar: Ralph’s Tavern

The Address 117 Shrewsbury Street

The Day and the TIme Wednesday at 12:30 in the afternoon

The price 5

Did they ask me if I wanted a lime She did and i got it

What was the type of gin It was a house gin

What was the gin and tonic like It was alright. Nothing much to say for it. I got to say, I think that’s the theme of this stop of the tour, there is nothing much to say. I sat down. I ordered a drink. I had a drink. I left. Nothing much else to say…….of course I will say more (it is more curse to do so)

The Joint It looks out of place on Shrewsbury Street. The outside appears as if it is a very nice hardware store, or place where you can buy large rounds of cheese. It looks big on the outside but to go in, feels cramped and small, and there was not a lot of folk there at this afternoon time, and yet it felt like there was more bar and behind the bar than there was space for customers. It is designed like a square where the the bar is the large and inevitable center of the universe. You all have to flock around the large bar, like a high school exercise in gravity and force of attraction. It is strange and off putting that the bar area for staff is more than the area for us thirsty rabble. The bartender was good enough, but the place just felt odd to me. Uninviting

General Impressions The small band of merry regulars were talking and loud about it, they filled up the joint. One guy was going on about renting properties and heading off to a place in town he didn’t know. Another guy put the address into his smart phone and kept on shouting out directions that the first guy, the realtor, seemed to ignore. They talked about what properties are being developed, what ones are being ignored and how this town ain’t they way it should be. You know, fellas at a bar. Jawing.

Amount of Time in the Joint 15 minutes

Will I come back No. It had a neighborhood vibe to it, but the sense of the place was just not right for me. It didn’t feel like you could settle down and take root.

Brooks – #10 on the Tour

The Bar: Brook’s

The Address 245 Lincoln Street

The Day and the TIme Sunday at five, this was Mother’s Day

The price I can’t remember and can’t find my notes, but I think it was five bucks.

Did they ask me if I wanted a lime Yes

What was the type of gin It was bar gin.

What was the gin and tonic like I must say, up until “The Incident” everything about the place was good and enjoyable. The drink was a pint glass number and it was good, it was not going to get mentioned in the gin section of the Wine Spectator, but it was nice company

The Joint They had stools by the front door outside so people can smoke while seated. Its a kind flourish I am sure. Going in, the carpet was dingy and the place still smelled every cigarette ever smoke in the place. It was ingrained in the very wood. There was a long bar on one side where everyone was. The bar was pretty well crowded, which is nice to see. There is a low wall that divided the joint, the other side where you place pool and darts, though no one was there. They were all drinking and talking. This was neighborhood all over. Everyone knew everyone else. Some were talking loud and joshing with the bartender. A couple guys would go over from time to time to the darts area to talk private like.

General Impressions Before “The Incident” I was composing in my head a pretty positive dispatch for this stop on the tour. I was composing in my head how every neighborhood needed a place to feel like you are part of the crowd. Early on a Sunday and everyone was just doing their thing. It was nice.

And then……

The guy, who was talking to a lot of folk, came up to where I was standing by myself, minding my business. He walked up to me full, so I couldn’t miss him. “Hi,” he said his name and put out his hand. I told him my name (I didn’t say Dante, for those who are interested) and took his hand. He didn’t shake it as much as imitated a pneumatic press. He smiled at me, but the smile didn’t get up to his eyes, ya know. “First time here.” I said it was. “What brings you here.” Now there are a lot of things I could have said, like “I’m a narc on duty” or “I go to bar to bar in town and have a gin and tonic and write about it” which are great ways to shorten my life span. Instead I said, “I was just driving by and saw the place and figured to have a drink.” The guy never stopped staring at me, he nodded with that smile and said “Yeah, this is a good place for that.” Its amazing all the things he told me that were not included in his words. Like, I dont know you and I don’t like that and I got me a strong grip if you didn’t notice before. What are you going to do about it.

He walked away from me, giving me the illusion of choice in the matter. I got the hell out of there. I didn’t leave, I retreated.

Now I could be wrong, he could have just been friendly. But, I’m not wrong. Since then I have been more careful on where my eyes are while I have my gin and tonic, but man, what a welcome. Sometimes a neighborhood bar is for whom the bar considers to be neighbors, so be careful how you look and present.

Amount of Time in the Joint 10 minutes

Will I come back No thanks. I don’t know who my welcome wagon friend was, if he is there all the time, but I don’t need the apparent risk. I was more welcome at Pleasant Cafe than here.

This was hard to write, and that sense of threat almost made me end this little project right there, but I am glad I continued.

Sidecar Discussion #2

Been a little light on this blog. My real life is keeping me from hitting the tour as much as I would like. Also, I have five bars to write up, some are pretty long in composing. The next one I am posting is from three months ago. Thanks for all those who read this, I appreciate it.