I thought I was going to Bob & Alice’s Tavern but one of the first things I learn upon entering is that I am not. A message inside written on a neon whiteboard says ‘Welcome to the Starday tavern‘. So despite a huge sign still attached to the building telling the world otherwise, there has been a name change.
Of my possible selections of beer, only the Alameda Klickitat pale is appealing. With a tiny jolt, I realize that this place is the first place I’ve been to in a long time that has had a truly poor beer selection. Even Foster Gardens was better. Think about that for a second.
I’m not especially fond of my beer; it’s a basic pale bit there’s a bitter aftertaste that follows me all the way home. Pale ales should not do this.
As I ponder this beer in what is probably one of the narrower bars in Portland, I take in the scenery. Small groups of people chatting around tables; there’s a gap-toothed man being smooched on the temple by a white haired woman. At the round table behind me, a man in a black t gestures to his tablemates about something, his hands are filthy, the kind that exist when you’ve been shoveling asphalt all day.
And this is the most isolated I have felt so far at any bar in this series. It is possible that my presence is filed under ‘active indifference’ by everyone here. Hard to say but for a place where people seem to know each other, a stranger coming in might seem to be noteworthy. Not so.
I don’t mind this; getting too much attention is not my idea of a good time (mostly) but I have to admit that I’m sitting here and I’m bored. There doesn’t seem to be much in the way of distinction at the Starday. “Me and Bobbie McGee” was playing when I entered, now it’s just country music that could be sung by any white dude. The TV shows baseball and NASCAR. Is this a country bar? I don’t know but I can tell you this: It is bland and dull.
Right up until I leave, when I overhear this conversation:
“When have you ever, ever, ever, seen a urinal with a door?”
“I think there should be one!”
Can’t help but agree.