The Local: the Vern

Vern signAh, the Vern. There’s still an old jukebox here, although old in this case means CDs but there are a couple in there that are personal mixes, one with a title “For the guys who dropped out in 1982 and went bowling”.

What’s not to love?

I walked about a mile to get a beer tonight. I think that’s about all one ought to ask from a man who wants a drink. And they have awesome drink specials here, too; one could get Arrogant Bastard for 2.50! Two freakin’ fifty.

Sure, you have to be here on a Wednesday but so what?

As I’m a bit short myself this month I got one of today’s specials, Rogue’s Dead Guy. I don’t think there’s much for me to add to someone’s Dead Guy experience. It’s an amber, sometimes thought of as an alt. I’ve frequently seen references to Dead Guy being a pretty fine example of the style. You either like it or you don’t.

As for the Vern, I suppose you could say the same thing. Enough TVs to keep you occupied but not so many they can’t be ignored. Couple pool tables. A woman shying just away from authoritative rants on the Blazers. Bartenders who step outside to smoke, leaving patrons alone for a few puffs.

It’s not as dark as it used to be I remember that much distinctly; there were fewer windows letting light in, once upon a time. The Vern was probably the first bar I wandered into in Portland and I’ve always liked it; punk rock, heavy metal and old school country vibing just fine with each other, bike messengers with tattoos and rods in their brows.

I never fit in, though. No tats. The scars I had all accident-inflicted. The Vern just was never local enough-just outside of the range most people want to go just to get a beer and hang out. If I was living somewhere else that might not matter but when you can throw a rock and hit three different bars…

What can I tell you? Humans are generally lazy.

I wonder if I’ve been going about this project all wrong. Monday nights are frequently dead zones for pubs and while that lets me focus on the writing it also gives me less to write on. Pubs should be lively. Most of the time you can even count on it. Fridays would be too busy but Wednesdays, maybe?

Hm. Wednesdays.

There’s something to be said for tradition, though. Even the Vern knows it. Sure, it’s cleaned up, made nice but not so much that the mildly-ostracised can’t come in and enjoy. The paint job helps but the carpet has duct tape forcing it to the floor. I’m not sure there’s anything after 1988 in that jukebox. There’s a working payphone by the men’s room and an array of pinball machines. No videogames. I wouldn’t say walking in here is a time warp but maybe instead a place where time stops, even if briefly.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.