The Local Bar

I was sitting in the Metropolitan Grill the other night, waiting for a friend of mine to show up, when a thought occurred to me.

Bars…good bars…are an undervalued asset to our communities.

I don’t mean the bars that have their walls plasteredd with various swag from Miller Lite and Budweiser, with bikini clad females seemingly hawking each and every beverage. I mean the bars where the bartenders are knowledgeable and helpful, the customers jovial yet respectful, and the food is salty and deep fried.

These are the places that give us a sense of community. We go to cheer on the home team, or to see a friendly face when we need to socialize. For a price, they feed us, and loosen us up a bit with a drink or two. And if a place is really good, they’ll tell us when we’re acting like idiots without being too judgmental. This is no small feat.

A good bar gives a sense of camaraderie amongst the regular patrons. Some join softball leagues and celebrate wins or losses with pitchers of the house brew. Others get to know one another through trivia nights, where those with an excessive amount of useless knowledge can hold court one or two nights a week.

There’s no specific set of accoutrements found within. Televisions are seemingly a must, but anything else is debatable. I prefer my bars without dance floors, but with stages. Karaoke is a no no, but movie nights? Absolutely.

And the bartenders? Oh my. The better ones value substance over style. They’ll know your favorite drink, bring out the menu at just the right time, and treat you every now and then. But you have to earn their respect. Tipping well is important. So is being friendly, but not overly so also helps. Mostly though, to get on the bartender’s good side, all it takes is respecting their job.

A good customer knows not to ask for a blender drink at inopportune times. A good customer will be a guinea pig for new concoctions being tried behind the bar. A good customer will be nice.

It’s been a long while since I’ve frequented a single establishment for any length of time. In my neck of the woods, there’s really no one place that feels right to me. But I hope to find one soon. Because it’s been a long time since I beat anyone on trivia night.