Neighborly Sips

When it comes to drinking, perhaps no place on Earth is more important than your favorite local watering hole. The trick is in knowing when you’ve found it.
Text by David C. Cleland | June 8, 2018 | Lifestyle

Finding your favorite local bar, the bar where you go to see friends, watch the game, celebrate successes, mourn defeats, and you order “the usual” without looking like a tool, is one of life’s essential experiences.
Historically, the local bar wasn’t just a place for people to get a drink; they served as cultural and political centers. Countless political and social movements — from revolutions to unions — got their start over a cold one at the corner bar. The local tavern was a place you could get the day’s news, relax after work and dream about improving your station in life.
Today, the local bar is just as important, if not even more so. With the surge of social media and streaming video, folks are forgetting how to interact with each other. Some of your new best friends are just down the street waiting to meet you, not posting pictures of cats on your wall. And for professionals, more jobs and promotions have been won, and to be fair, lost, sitting on a barstool. So do yourself a favor and find that place that feels like home and where everybody knows your name.
In your search for your bar, you’ll no doubt encounter some downright awful establishments, places that serve over-priced, weak drinks and don’t allow shorts or flip-flops. So to help you find your perfect watering hole, there are some rules you have to follow.
First, avoid chains like the plague, with their bright lighting, overabundance of flair and family vibe, they aren’t where you want to be drinking…I mean let’s be honest, do you really want to plan a revolution at a place that serves WingZingDingers and half-priced frozen strawberry margaritas? Find a place that plays good music, drinking music, not dubstep…think Tom Waits and Johnny Cash. Secondly, remember that good bartenders are what makes a bar, so get to know them and tip well. Also, happy hour deals are important. Pick a place that’s walking distance or a short cab ride away — DUI’s are the worst kind of buzz kill. Never snap your fingers or wave money at barmen. They’ll hate you forever no matter how much you tip.
Lastly, never drink alone…but you can arrive solo as long as you talk to people, make some new friends and remember you’re not as cool as you think.
In closing, I’ll do something that’s very much out of character, and leave you with a quote, one that happens to be one of my favorites and from Samuel Johnson, one of the fathers of modern English. “There’s no private house in which people can enjoy themselves so well as at a capital tavern…No, sir; there’s nothing which has yet been contrived by man by which so much happiness is produced as by a good tavern.”