The Bar: McDonald’s Tavern
The Address 440 Grove Street
The Day and the TIme 8:30 on a Tuesday in the Summer. The baseball All-Star Game was on, if that gives you an idea of when it was.
The price I think it was six bucks, but it was a while ago and I can’t find my notes.
Did they ask me if I wanted a lime Yes
What was the type of gin I don’t recall
What was the gin and tonic like Fine
The Story: This should have been an easy one to write, but for some reason or other, I have found it near impossible to write about this little known pub. Its attached to the Worcester Fitness Club, inside it, and its decorated all in dark clunky wood and little light. The first time I went to the bar, I didn’t order a drink, I just looked around and left. This was early in this tour, looked around and thought the bar too strange to do it at that day. Why did I think that. First, I have been to bars in athletic clubs before but this had a weird vibe. This was a Wednesday at nine or so and when I came in the bar was full of older men, not a seat was available. All older. This was something i wasn’t expecting. Now I didn’t stay long, but my memory was that they were all at the bar and they could see the cardio area of the gym and the men were looking at the women on the bikes and treadmills. When I went back a month or so later, I realized I was wrong, there was no easy way for someone at the bar to look at the people in the gym. My mind played tricks on me. Maybe I was trying to explain why they were all there.
The second time I was there I had my gin and tonic and listened to the few people talk to one another. It was not busy, but it did go to the older age side of things. They all seemed to know each other. This seemed like their place after work or whatever. But when I was there, I just felt sad. I don’t know if its because I remembered aspects of the place incorrectly, or that the dark setting and the wood just hollowed me out. Maybe it was the old person’s bar surrounded by all this exercise and activity, an oasis of blessed sloth. Exercise for an hour or two and negate the whole process by having a few cocktails. Maybe it was because the bar smelled of chlorine from the pool (which is reason enough to not return). I don’t know.
As I went on with this blog and the months went by, it just got harder and harder to think of something to write about this place, and get my feelings straight on it. I even played with the notion of going back there again, a third time, have a gin and tonic and try to come up with something to say about it. But I have now gone to over 53 bars on this silly project and have about 60 or 70 more to go to, so I don’t fancy the notion of going back and giving this bar proper reporting. So instead, you get this rambling missive of a review.
About this project, its really not about the gin and tonic. Its about the act of going to a bar. Its me trying to figure out why we pick the places we like to go to. Why we socialize the way we do in these public spaces. What is expected of us when we are there and what do we expect in return. Maybe something about this bar, this space, cradled inside a large gym complex, made me think. In my forties, this is not the place I chose to be, to be a part of, but what about twenty years from now, will I be that guy at the bar in the blazer talking about my golf swing? Will I wonder where everyone is, because this place usually is filled and active? Will I begin to dream of a place where I can have a drink that mingles with the aroma of chlorine?