Thursday, July 20, 2023

Another Wednesday. Another ‘bar’?

 Last time my daughter had a therapy session I went to a bar, had a virgin bloody Mary and wrote a vignette about the bar.

She had another session yesterday and I decided to repeat the experience at a different bar.

I started by searching for bars. In this, as in all things, Florida is – a lot – too much – annoying AF.

I’m accustomed to San Diego where a bar is a place whose primary function is serving drinks and food is an afterthought. The Alibi, which is the quintessential dive bar, has a motto – Let’s Drink About It.

A similar bar in Albuquerque was Sonnys where one of my favorite Albuquerque bands, The Withdrawals, used to play every week. There was beer and booze. There were pool tables. There was music. I don’t remember them serving food. If they did, it was munchies.

Sonnys was fun. I went there to drink beer, dance and wallow in the fabulous music of Keith Kavula and the band.

In St.Louis there were bars I went on weekdays and bars that were strictly for the weekend. I don’t remember the little bar across from St Louis University but it’s slogan was – cold beer, no flies. That was a weekday place to have a couple of beers before turning in for the night.

On the weekend, my favorite bar was Broadway Oyster Bar. The kitchen closed at 11pm and from that moment forward until 3am, it was strictly a bar. St Louis is big on blues music so Saturday nights there was always a local blues band playing.

So back to today, the Windward Bar and Grill proved to be a restaurant with drinks as an afterthought.

This is the thing with Florida; they have to be all things. They can’t be a restaurant or a bar. They are all going to be a restaurant primarily because that is high dollar. And a bar secondary because they can’t miss the chance to make those booze bucks.

Same with coffee shops. They are restaurants where you can linger with coffee. Sometimes you might get away with dessert and coffee but unless you’re at Starbucks you will be surrounded by people eating meals.

The Corner Bar from last week seems to have been a unique experience.

The atmosphere at Windward was also trying too hard. Or maybe it’s just that Windward is in Clearwater which is upscale and Corner Bar is in Largo which is edgier? Not sure how that works considering Largo is full of 55+ communities which doesn’t sound like the home of edgy.

In any case, all of Florida is trying too damn hard. Relax. You let the governor fuck up Disneyland so now – take a cue from Sonnys. Throw away the menus. Clear a dance floor. Hire Keith Kavula and the Withdrawals.

Have some fun for crisake.

Man On the Mountain by Keith Kavula and The Withdrawals

Thursday, July 6, 2023

Killing Time

 I usually try to disappear out of the house for a while when my daughter has a therapy session. No daughter, no dog. What should I do? A Virgin Bloody Mary sounded good so I decided to visit the Corner Bar and Grill. 

A darkened room at 2:30 in the afternoon can be jarring when you step inside out of the bright Florida sunshine.

Guns and Roses song “Patience” blares from the speakers of a neon jukebox in the back corner. 

The space in the room was dominated by a large rectangular bar with counter tops that looked marble and obviously fake-brick-vinyl contact paper covering the base.

 A white haired man sitting on a barstool close to the door greeted me as I walked in. “Welcome to the Corner Bar and Grill.” I nodded and walked past him.

 I made my way to the back by the pool table that was currently not in use. I was the only patron not sitting AT the bar but I hate those high bar stools.

The bartender came over and took my order for a Virgin Bloody Mary. I was expecting attitude since I wasn’t ordering alcohol but she was courteous and efficient.

While I waited for my drink, I studied the far wall. It was decorated with several posters of women dressed fierce like warriors.

The bartender herself could have posed for one of the posters. She was slightly tall and thin. A black tank top with Harley Davidson in sequins on the front, was tucked into tight, white jeans with a black belt. Her white hair was in a casual updo and her makeup was edgy but not gaudy. She wore gray suede sandals that looked supportive but comfortable.

I asked her if the owner was a woman and she smiled and said yes.

I’m sipping my drink which is delicious and Linda Ronstadt starts singing “You’re No Good”. I waste five minutes in the past remembering someone who was no good and then another few minutes angry that I gave him energy today.

Pulling my mind back to the present I notice several televisions on the walls. All of them are muted and on different channels. The one closest to me is airing an episode of Jerry Springer. I have only watched that show briefly while channel surfing.

 Mr. Springer has always taken the low road but his show appears to have deteriorated even more. He stands to the side while two security guards pretend to keep two females from hitting each other. They are both in short, sleeveless, sequined dresses. One would almost think they had coordinated their outfits but we are supposed to believe they are enemies. The caption across the bottom says one owes the other money. The audience claps and eggs them on.

Blind Melon’s song “No Rain” comes on and my mood lifts several levels lighter.

When I walked in people on their own were dispersed with several seats between them. Within half an hour the bar has filled up with more of the same people with a few couples interspersed here and there.

 A woman has moved over to sit with the man by the door who greeted me. They are having a conversation punctuated by gestures and hair flips.

Time for me to go. Today was pleasant but this will not become my Cheers.