This is a first.
I am the only patron in the bar. It’s me, the barkeep, and three televisions and so if I’m murdered, avenge my death because there’s only one suspect.
Not that I’m going to be murdered; the bartender is someone I know and he’s always been cool. The fact that Tosh .0 is one of the preferred choices on the TV is…well, thinking about it, it’s exactly what ought to be playing.
Angelo’s is the first place I was exposed to Andrew WK. Fittingly, I couldn’t hear the music, I just watched him perform on Saturday Night Live and saw the closed captioning. After reading the words “Party Hard” 300x, I knew I had to get this record. And believe me; it’s one of the best albums of the ’00’s, though it’s hard to admit that, because the album is 110% partying and let’s face it, who wants to say that music for parties is cool when melancholy, self-promotion, preteen heartbreak and in your face American dickishness makes all the money?
Fuck them; It’s Time To Party is one of the best anthems, ever. I’ll put that up against Back In Black, baby. The glories of I Want To See You Go Wild are just waiting to be uncovered. Honestly,the only thing that worries me about getting older is that my ability to have fun will atrophy somehow. Fuck being cool; I want to live in a now (and a future) where I can still smile, laugh, make jokes and have a good time.
The bartender asks me if I want another and I do. We chat; things are rough here. That I’m the only patron right now is unusual from a few years ago–a time we both remember. Him as a bartender, me as patron, but once upon a time Angelo’s was that cool place to be where the hip kids could slum and the oddballs could live it up, all while mixing with the old coot boys who held up the bar in decades past when Hawthorne wasn’t a place to hang out.
I met women here. I met drunks here. I met guys here. I had couples show off their wedding rings. I had an anarchist tell me that I didn’t know what I was talking about when I told her democracy didn’t fit with her preferred political system. I wrote personal ads for strangers, argued for the superiority of bands while at levels of drunkeness that proved to be overtoxic the next morning, washed my hands of sins, heard confession and attempted to forgive and forget. I wrote, frequently badly and I will again. A man hauled me out of the bar, pointed West and said; “That is what life is, man” on the 4th of July, in an attempt to get me to watch the fireworks for real instead of on TV.
I have come to Angelo’s for many years and I will likely come for a few more. The carpet is gone to reveal a weird shitty surface that only can be found in dive bars. The craptastic wood paneling has been decimated to show off a rough brick surface that almost feels ancient, like you’re getting to inhabit a place that has soul instead of covering it up with a veneer. There’s alcohol now instead of just beer. It’s dark. You make your connections in the fuzzy world of indoor dusk.
But if you’re cool, nobody cares. Pay for your beer, do your time, and don’t be a dick. That you don’t ‘fit in’ doesn’t have to matter if you are kind, honest and have enough confidence to not put up with the bullshit of assholes. It’s like that here, and it’s why I come back.
Well, that and the $2.50 beer specials daily. I don’t care how cheap PBR is, you cannot beat pints of Fat Tire, Dead Guy, Mirror Pond, Widmer Oktoberfest, or Ninkasi Total Domination for $2.50.You just can’t.