The local. If you like drinking beer, you’ve got one.
There’s a lot of qualities that go into a proper local, and everyone’s got their own requirements. I seem to have two locals; Bailey’s, where I go, and Angelo’s, where I go to hide.
Everyone ought to have a hideout. Someplace where you can be comfortable but nobody knows you, asks how you are, wants to strike up a conversation. That doesn’t always work; the last time I was at Angelo’s I got into a heated discussion with an anarchist who, when I asked her what she wanted, said among other things, ‘democracy’.
I got yelled at for pointing out the obvious problem.
That said, I’ve been going to Angelo’s since I landed in Portland thirteen years ago. It was within walking distance, and every night they had (and still have) different beer specials: Deschutes Mirror Pond, Rogue Dead Guy, Bridgeport IPA and more. Going in on a different night gives me a new cheap thrill, so to speak. The smoke didn’t bother me. Rather, it was the cloak that helped keep me hidden while I sat and watched the locals and wrote. Sometimes I was noticed and strangers told me stories. I had couples brag to me that they’d gotten engaged, and sadly desperate women proposition me in eerie ways. Odd men questioned me about my politics, my musical tastes, and a bartender who shared a love of books with me swapped suggestions about what to read next. We’d crank up the Iron Maiden, and suspiciously eye anyone who thought of putting country music on the jukebox.
It feels older than it probably is; constant subject to the whims of dive bar patrons and smoke will do that. When the smoking ban took effect, they ripped the ugly fake wood paneling off the walls to reveal the raw brick, and somehow that makes the place seem more worldly instead of old and haggard.
The customers divide into the day crew; older men and women there for reasons I’m not privy to, and the night crew, twentysomethings who are there for the same reason every twentysomething is in a bar in Portland; cheap PBR, and the chance to watch sports on the TV.
Though I don’t entirely fit in there anymore, I still like going in. Especially when I need to hide out. Anyone else have good hideout spots?