A Dispatch from the Second Half of the Tour

I started going to bars for the purpose of this tour of every bar in Worcester in March of 2014. I didn’t make the blog live until May. It started slow but it has been moving ever onward. I have posted dispatches on 81 bars and have three more to write up at this moment. It has been great. I wish I thought of this earlier. I feel very attached to this city now. I have seen so much of it now. Everyone, moving to a new city, should create a tour of it so they can understand it.

When I started, I didn’t do any research on liquor licenses and so figured I would be done in a round 100 bars. I am currently circling around that number and now realize, I ain’t done baby.

I have no idea how many bars are in Worcester but I know, approximately, how many more I will be doing. I made a list of the bars I know I haven’t done yet, and have added seven or eight more spaces to the list, for those i missed and those that will be new and just opened. When I reach that number, this tour will be over. Its not ending soon. I don’t want to give the number, but it is more than forty and less than seventy. I want to give myself wiggle room, just in case I want to end it early or get inspired and want to continue on. I know what the last bar will be. Its the bar I call my own. Its the bar I am writing this in..

I always knew that I wasn’t going to include the strip clubs. I wasn’t interested in trying to figure out the culture of those places. And despite friends trying to convince me, I have also decided to not go to the Regional and National chain Restaurant and Bars. Let’s keep it local, and keep it so I may retain the functions of my liver. So I have a list now, and I know I will miss places, but I will try to make the big joints I haven’t been to yet: Armsby Abbey, Vincent’s, Smitty’s, The Vernon, etc.That’s a given. If I missed your favorite, I am a wee bit sorry. But not much.

But when I started this tour, I made a big mistake. I kept most of the Restaurant Bars until the end. This was a terrible mistake. I started going to dive bar to local bar to sports bar to dive bar for the first thirty or so. Now I have nothing but mostly Restaurant Bars to get to and those, sorry to say, are just not as interesting to me as dives and sports bars. Hell, on Shrewsbury Street, the Restaurant Row of the town, I have over 14 bars which are really Restaurants with a bar area, to go to still.. Yikes.

So if you want to replicated this tour, please, spread out the cool neighborhood bars with Restaurants, keep it a variety.

I have loved doing this. It has actually made me a stronger writer. And like I said, I have now seen Worcester in ways a lot have not. I am lucky to have that honor. But I will be done soon. Maybe by the summer. I will let you all know when we are reaching the big ending. Thank you all for reading.

Dante of Worcester


Fiddler’s Green – #81 on the Tour

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The Bar Fiddler’s Green. It is nestled deep in the breast of the Worcester Hibernian Cultural Centre.

The Address 19 Temple Street

The Day and the Time Sunday at seven during the Deflated Ball Pats Game. I hope that in three years, someone might read this blog and have no idea what I am talking about. These are pleasant dreams that I hope to come true.

The price Four Dollars (haven’t seen a gin and tonic below the five dollar border in a while and what a pleasure it was.)

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

What was the type of gin Well

What was the gin and tonic like Alllllllllright. It was ooooooookay. It was another word with too many letters put in to signify inconsequence.

The Joint: It is a nice room. A very nice warm room suitable for people sitting and having a pint of dark and perhaps a wee dram. That’s what it looks like. You have to walk through a few hallways and up a stairwell and there is the bar in this Irish Club. It feels like a real Irish Bar. It had all the attributes of a fine Irish Bar, save for just one wee thing. It was devoid of people.

General Impressions This is the third time I have come to this place, wanting to put it on the tour, and finding the bar completely empty. The first two times, I saw what was what, and split, because I want this place to be amazing. I know, I shouldn’t put bet on the worth of a bar on this tour, but I don’t know, I wanted this place to be amazing. This time, I came in, thinking that a big ball game would get people. I was wrong. What the hell. Can I never get it right? Don’t comment, I know what the answer is. It’s no.

I was about to turn tail and run, waiting for a better moment, but the bartender smiled and said hello and said she was about to close up. I told her, that I shouldn’t stop her. She then said its better to have someone there then close early. So damn. I had to get my gin and tonic. She chatted with me, killing time. She said that the every other Sunday it was packed with Irish musicians. Not this Sunday. And Fridays are good too. Everyone was home watching the game she figured. We chatted for a bit while I finished my drink and it was pleasant enough in a Bartender and Strange Fellow Having an English Drink at an Irish Bar sort of way. She was nice, she made the place appealing, even without people.

Amount of Time in the Joint 20 minutes

Will I come back Yes. I want to see it filled with Irish musicians singing and drinking and getting sloppy like they did in the Olde Country. I know this is not usually my MO., but damn, I want the bar in the Hibernian Cultural Centre to shine its best.

Snoozed and Losed #2

Well looks like I can cross the Pic off the list of places to go, and not in a good way. For all I can gather, they are closed. I tried a couple times but they don’t seem like they are up for business. I liked the place when it was Picadilly, I was looking forward to see what the Pic was like. Well, i am sure they had the best gin and tonic in the city.

More sad news, looks like after 35 years Northworks is closed because of a lease issue. That’s sad. It was not my place, when I checked it out, but it was vibrant with its own customers and its own feel. It took care of the professionals in that area, and it filled a need. Bummer all around.

Padavano’s Place – #80 on the Tour

The Bar Padavano’s Place

The Address 358 Shrewsbury Street

The Day and the TIme Sunday at six. The Patriots game had just started (the deflated balls game, wow, typing that makes me feel dirty)

The price 7.50

Did they ask me if I wanted a lime He just put it in. The bartender was pretty good.

What was the type of gin I asked for the basic and he gave me the tanqueray. Nice.

What was the gin and tonic like It was good. A little flat, but it was good. I didn’t care for the place too much, so I found myself not enjoying the drink as much. What can I say, a gin and tonic is really an alcoholic mood ring. Happy Dante, good drink. Unhappy Dante, a very long slog through a pint glass.

The Joint This is a new place, officially part of Shrewsbury street, but off the road in a parking lot. It is a large ceiling place with a small loft area. The bar is a big u shaped number. Their are tables around it and in a area to the left. It was not too busy at the time. There was about 10 people at the bar, a few in Patriots shirts.) A family in the Pats blue eating and watching at a nearby table. The place looked kind of nice, but it felt sterile to me. And then going to the bathroom, only one bathroom which is fine, the door was almost blocked by a dough making machine. It was just there in the hallway taking up space. In a low rent bakery or a greasy spoon, that would be fine, but here in a place trying to look cool and slightly upscale, it kind of stuck out. A lot of the people at the bar knew each other, many of them, it seemed worked there, ending work early due to the Pats game killing the business. I didn’t feel fantastically welcome at the bar, nothing mean about anyone, just not too welcoming a place. Everyone knew everyone, and too bad for me.

General Impressions Here is how I felt about the place. At the bar was a young woman wearing very tight clothing that did not allow much to go unnoticed. She was sitting by herself, talking to two older men across the bar, as well as the bartender. My guess is that she was a waitress for the place now off shift. After a few minutes, she took the offer of the two older men and joined them on the other side of the bar (actually, I can’t recall if she just went over or if they asked her to). She sat in between the two men. She talked and smiled and laughed. We might call it flirting, but who am I to know these terms? Another woman came from the back and sat at the bar. going over figures in a ledger. She was an owner or manager. She talked to all the people she knew (I was ignored, I was like the invisible man, amazing powers that I have). She saw the two older men with the young waitress sitting between them and the manager woman said to one of the men, “You’re a pimp daddy.” The man laughed, shook his head and said, “No, pimp grand daddy.”

And that’s when Dante declared this stop on the tour over.

Yes, I have heard worse and raunchier. But is this what the place wants to be? May-December jokes among the regulars? And maybe thats the problem with Padavano’s Place, what does it want to be? Is it a high end Italian Eatery? Is it a local watering hole? Is it a hook up joint? Is it a place where mixing equipment is left right outside the bathroom like an industrial bakery? It can be whatever it wants to be, just not with me.

Amount of Time in the Joint 20 minutes

Will I come back No. I hear the food is quite good. That’s nice. But still, no.

La Scala – #79 on the Tour

The Bar La Scala

The Address 183 Shrewsbury Street

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

The price Eight Dollars

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

What was the type of gin Tanqueray. Lovely.

What was the gin and tonic like It was good, I like Tanqueray. The bartender did have difficulty finding the button on the tap that would give tonic. Part of my was afraid he would pick the wrong button, that I would get gin and coca-cola. Which I have had before, and really rather not have again.

The Joint This is a small Italian joint on Shrewsbury street that seems to hide everytime I come in the area. I always forget about  it. It has been around for years, but it doesn’t stick. The place is small but comfortable. A medium sized bar. There was just me and another couple at the bar. They were having lunch, which was sandwiches. The sign outside did say they had Tripe on the menu. How cool, a place proudly selling tripe. I won’t eat tripe, but its the kind of place I want to hang out in, Tripe Friendly Locations.

General Impressions The couple were watching a program focusing on the wonderful life of professional athletes, you know, true to life stuff. They ate their sandwiches. They lingered. They talked to the handsome young bartender. It was a cold Saturday, people were very relaxed, and the tripe was waiting in the back, for its time to at last to come. Time to shine little Tripelette, time to shine.

Amount of Time in the Joint 10 minutes

Will I come back Maybe. It has the feel of a nice hole in the wall Italian place where the food is the star. Its a place I can see you sitting down at the bar for lunch and maybe a beer. I can think of worse places to do such a thing.

A Question

Looking at my wordpress stats, I see that my write up on Birkbeck’s Waterfront Grille gets a  third to half of all my views every day. Can someone explain that? I am not complaining, I just don’t know why that’s the one that gets all the traffic?

Zorba’s – #78 on the Tour

The Bar Zorba’s

The Address 97 Stafford Street

The Day and the TIme 3:45 on a Friday

The price 6.96. Really? Six dollars and ninety six cents? This is the sign you are not partaking at a neighborhood bar and at a restaurant, you get mashugana prices for your drinks. I want a place that would charge me seven bucks. Actually, I would like a place to charge me four bucks, but either way, rounded off prices, please.

Did they ask me if I wanted a lime  No, she just put it in. Yah!!!!!!

What was the type of gin Well

What was the gin and tonic like It was in a pint glass and it was fine. Not much flavor, it was alright for what I ordered.

The Joint This big old restaurant has been Zorba’s for a while, though with the plastic front, to keep out the cold I think, it feels temporary. The bar is big. The music is classic Greek. It was what you expect from a bar/restaurant. Dark wood. Sports on the TV screens. This was still early on Friday, The hour was not happying yet. A few groups were sitting at the bar. Two women were talking about work, they were teachers, probably from Gates Lane, which is one parking lot away from Zorba’s. Another two some looked like they were on an early stage date. They were cuddly and rapt in each other’s eyes (cue romantic Bouzouki music, baby!)

General Impressions Its nice to have a neutral place to meet after work and complain and find common enemies. This seems like a fine, though undistinguished place for that. This is where the workers of nearby businesses can go have a beer or a drink and some humus. I am sure it can get thick around five after work ends for most.

Amount of Time in the Joint 15 minutes

Will I come back Probably not.