The Bar: The Hotel Vernon
The Address 16 Kelley Square
The Day and the Time Thursday at 8:45
The price 4
Did they ask me if I wanted a lime No and I didn’t get one
What was the type of gin Well
What was the gin and tonic like It was a lousy drink that I ignored for a while. Was I expecting brilliance in a glass? I do not think so. At this place you get drinks not for flavor but for strength and fortitude.
The Joint Ah Dive Bar, thou has been discovered. You can’t get any more perfect than this unclean gem.It is the bar of a welfare hotel. It doesn’t get more dockside gritty than this. There are tales of its life as a speakeasy, but what people really know is that you can get dollar drafts (in mostly clean glasses). It is three room, the front room where the bar is. It has ugly dirty paintings of pirates that are just fantastic. There is a back room where the pool table is and then the ship room where bands and what not happen. That’s a good place to hangout, I have always liked that space, but it was closed this evening.
Two female bartenders made sure the cheap drinks were flowing. One was bubbly and flirty. One was a little brooding. I liked the yin/yang of it. These two handled the crowd well. I do remember being here once when a pretty young bartender was working and a guy was being uber creepy to her, telling her how pretty she was and how nice she was over and over. YOu could watch her get paler and paler as the hour passed. That bartender left the employ of the Vernon soon after.
While I was there, a very tall man slowly came and set up in a corner speakers and set it up to his laptop. He was the DJ (he is what he plays) There is not a lot for DJs to do lately. He didn’t smile, just tap away at his computer. I was there to hear Pet Shop Boys doing West End Girls and then Black Sabbath came on with War Pigs. People ignored the music. This would be the place to hear Sinatra, but that’s just me. I mean, War Pigs is a fine song.
General Impressions : The bar was mostly occupied. People came and went, depending on their schedule and their budget. Some moved about with spry step, some slower, with hunches and shuffled feet. One young woman took out a cane to get to a side table to play chess with an insistent man who wanted to play chess and had asked several women if they were up for a game. She was willing and moved with some deliberation. The place had a feel of a hidden picture. It looks like a normal run down bar, but concentrate and look harder and strange delights appear, as if almost by magic. The guy I was sitting next to seemed like a normal chap, in a well worn jacket. He was quiet and focused on his draft of Gansett. One of the bartenders came over and asked him if he wanted another and then, suddenly, he devolved into a non-speaking nether creature. he might have mumbled an assent and then picked up from under his stool, a plastic bag and began to scurry through it, like Gollum searching for his precious. The guy mumbled a secret language to himself as he searched the bag and searched. The bartender waited and then crossed her arms and began to get bored as the guy still scurried into the bag. He finally re-emerged with a crumpled single. He handed it to her. She grabbed the bill and poured him another. I looked at him again with different eyes. When he got his beer he quieted down and began to slowly sip at the glass.
The place was felt like a genuine dive bar but with training wheels attached. Its beginners level drinking hovel. It felt like a place you can hang out in Dive Bar splendor and still feel safe. Relatively. I did mention the guy asking all the female patrons to play chess with him. This might be a fun place for men, but women might have a tougher time.
Amount of Time in the Joint 30 minutes
Will I come back Sure. Its a fun joint. I used to come in a lot. Not recently. There are times when it is filled with young hipsters acting cool and correct, but this time felt like a run down joint to get a drink and that’s a fine enough thing to be.