I am walking along 82nd, having just picked up my copy of The Last of Us, thinking; ‘Sometimes, I hate the fact that I’m online so much.’ Because if I wasn’t online so much, I wouldn’t know that the Lion’s Eye exists, and I wouldn’t have to walk to it for a beer.
Existing on the edge of what I will consider walking to, I considered ignoring it. Who would know? Nobody checks up on me. However, I feel like I have to challenge myself. This is the new neighborhood. If I don’t get out there, then I’m willfully ignoring part of the world that I don’t know about. That’s no way to live.
But goddamn is walking along 82nd depressing. I leave the strip mall and pass by a cemetery which is more cheerful than the bar & grill across the street. Nearly every business which is not a national chain is like this; worn down, as though the waves of cars passing by was slowly grinding them into smaller and uglier little shops, grimy and overly colorful at the same time. Or there are soulless, McDonalds-as-castle-walls chains; clean, flat surfaces without a trace of humanity to them. The barrier between moving and living is here and it is ugly.
I see a couple more places I could drink at on the way to the Lion’s Eye and I discard most of them, as they are clearly restaurants of some kind with a bar attached/combo’d in. Nah. I see one Mexican food joint that looks like it’s housed in a tractor trailer. A part of me wants to go there; it is either going to be outstanding or I’m going to have to stay near a toilet, followed by a night of tequila shots. The risk seems worth it.
Very little gives me hope. 82nd just isn’t the kind of street people walk on. They wait for a bus or they get the hell away from it. I’m not crazy for wanting to be at home playing The Last of Us because who wants to stand out here?
So imagine my surprise when I walk in, sit down and catch this:
That’s JUST the beer menu.
Holy shit, this place is awesome. I don’t know what to do. There’s some country music on: actual country, not radio-friendly-unit-shifter stuff and my beer was served in a non-chilled glass. Seriously, what is a joint like this doing on 82nd?
I get Silver Moon’s Uncle Jim’s Maui Wowie double IPA. This beer is spiky with hops, almost too strong to drink. Yah, it’s a double IPA but still it doesn’t go down easy. I might be having a little trouble because the nose is difficult to pick up due to the air conditioning. Still, it’s a decent beer, even if I think I’d like it better if it was offset a little with some food (or just a better malt balance.)
A fellow named Mario is having trouble remembering if he had paid his tab from another night. There is something sweet here, though the scene is played more for laughs. The bartenders go through the motions of looking for his tab but I think they’re just fucking with him, in a good way. They know who he is and whatever happened a couple nights ago involved women who may have left without paying their tab, the fellows stepping in to fix that. The ladies behind the bar? They are just amused.
I am starting to wish I could stay here a bit longer. Instead, I’ll just have to come back.