The man next to me has just sauntered up to the bar at Rocky’s, so I ask him what he’s going to be ordering.
“PBR,” he replies.
“Thanks much,” I reply, explaining what I’m doing.
“You’re probably glad I didn’t say, like some sorta whiskey thing.” He smiles.
“Nah. Whoever you’re ordering, that’s what I’m having. I don’t judge. Besides,” I tell him, “day like today? (It’s crazy hot for Portland) I’ll take a PBR.”
He nods and asks my name, extending his hand. I tell him, he says he’s Noah. He’s got a black T with the Metal Mulisah logo on it and he seems happy to be patient while the harried bartender hustles through Rocky’s.
Which is not a place that I was ready to come to. On the southern outskirts of Portland, all I really knew about it was that it was the kind of place that I wasn’t going to find my people at-the beer geeks, that is. Which means it’s exactly where I should go.
Because this theme isn’t just about trying beer. It’s about people. And you can’t learn more about people unless you’re willing to get out amongst them.
Noah gets his beer and returns to his friends to play a videogame. I stay on the rail and try to drink it all in.
Rocky’s is the kind of place that will likely be playing something by Stevie Ray Vaughn when you walk in and strangers will greet you by calling you “boss”. It’s also the kind of place that has stickers for KBOO, a and one that says “Support your local bartender: Helping ugly people get laid!”
That local bartender will cheerfully offer that she knows all the words to Rapper’s Delight “even the 11 minute version” for karaoke, while friends cheer each other on at the video bowling game, with slogans stenciled in red on the ceiling, and everyone knows where the key to the bathroom is except you.
“I know you’re busy, love-” a woman says to the bartender
“Just yell at me, baby, I gotcha,” she replies, then: “Here ya go, mama,” when she brings the woman water.
In short: you kinda have to be here, even if you’ve seen ‘here’ before.
Today’s second pint goes to Spread The Vote.