Saturday, September 24, 2016


There are a number of taverns near me within walking distance.  Not a real short walk, but places a person with a decent set of wheels can amble to without it being an ordeal.  The closest is a restaurant with a Cheers like bar attached.  Not a bad restaurant, but not much of a place to go to to watch a game with like minded fans.

There are three other establishments within 3/4 of a mile which have their distinctiveness. One is for folks who barely can remember 9/11.  Another for persons who probably know who the Beatles are.  And a third that is part of a very expensive restaurant. There used to be a fourth, Bullets.

I have parked myself at many an establishment to watch sporting events.  Some places are not written up in GQ and I don't really mind the dives.  There is a sports bar about three miles from me that I attended once and decided it was too depressing even with football games and fans populating the joints. But I will try most any place once to watch a game

However, I never walked into Bullets.  Bullets was a bar that sat right next to a Dunkin Doughnuts. What struck me about Bullets is that when I went in at 8 am to Dunkin Doughnuts to get a cup of coffee and a bagel, there were guys stumbling out of Bullets who looked like they had already knocked back several pints.   Bullets, go figure, went out of business a few months ago.

Who I wondered frequented that place? I found out about two weeks ago.

Beyond the Cheers-like restaurant in a different direction, there is a joint which is really nothing more than a living room.  It has a person's name on the door.  I once, curious, went in there and it was as spartan as any place I've ever been to.  Very small.  Really my living room is as big.  There is a long table top that serves as a bar. No beer on tap. Just bottles.  No credit cards accepted.  There's a dance floor with a karaoke mike that gets some traffic and two old tv sets that always have a sporting event on them.  I kind of like the spot.  It is often crowded--which doesn't take much--and people seem to be enjoying themselves despite the fact that it really is nothing more than an empty space with some tables you might find on the street on garbage day that former owners are tossing.

The other night I stopped into the room.  I was having a cold one watching the Red Sox when a fellow started chatting me up. He seemed like a reasonable guy to me and I will bet the only person in that joint who regularly knocks back Johnny Walker Black.  He knew many of the people in the crowd.  At one point he shook his head and told me, sadly, that someone he had just said "hi" to was one of the crew that had come over to this place after Bullets closed up.

Well, that killed me.  You could walk past a number of decent places on the way from where Bullets was to this nothing place.  What did the regulars at Bullets do? Did they convene and say what is a bar that is equal to the dumpiness of Bullets? And did someone say they knew just the place.

Coincidentally completely, I had read a review of a book called, Later, At the Bar, that highly recommended the read. So, I took it out of the library and read through the short novel--which is really just a series of loosely connected short stories.  Later, At the Bar is about the regulars at a bar called Lucy's which is in a fictitious town in upstate New York.  From various hints I think the fictitious town is based on areas near the Finger Lakes region, a rural part of central, western New York.

I did not think Later At the Bar was that special. Moreover I didn't recognize a soul there as someone I rubbed shoulders with at any of the sports bars where I have frequented. Of course, Lucy's is not a sports bar, but still I found nothing attractive about the characters.  I read the book after my encounter in the living room now populated by the erstwhile denizens of Bullets, so I thought about the characters in the book as those who might have been inhabitants of Bullets.  But I don't think they were.

Most of the characters in Later At the Bar went to the bar to get drunk. And maybe to hook up with another drunkard.  They often did hook up and I found myself contemplating the nature of engagement that could take place even among interested and enthusiastic parties who have had close to two six packs before messing around.   There did not seem to be anyone in the novel who (a) I'd like to befriend (b) had a full set of teeth and/or (c) was a real person.  

The living room establishment has more character and bona fide characters, but that the clientele selected it after the demise of Bullets, leaves me shaking my head about the draw of certain types of watering holes.

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