I tried to go to the Pied Cow tonight. When I entered the establishment there was a nice handwritten sign with daisies drawn on it; Please Wait to be Seated.
So I waited. For about three minutes. After not seeing a server or anyone to greet me and let me sit, I left. Perhaps I should’ve waited longer but I could hear people giggling in the back and why the hell should I stick around? They want me to wait; I’ll wait. I’ll wait longer if it’s busy or I’m acknowledged with a “Be with you in a minute” but when the opening foyer is a ghosttown and there are empty tables? Nah. I’ll try again another day because this bar is part of the series but I can’t say I’m looking forward to it anymore.
Instead I walked up the street to The Blue Monk. Similarly deserted, there was no instruction to wait and a sign pointing out that the basement bar was open. The bartender greeted me, asked me how things were in the world above, laughed at my meager joke response and gave me a Ninkasi Oatis stout.
Next to me people are talking time travel, conspiracy theories, pyramids, electromagnetic fields, acoustics machines, the Illuminati. It’s not just a little fascinating. Behind me a couple of friends are hashing out some relationship drama in their circle, wondering why people ‘can’t all be adults’. A crusty voiced man with driving gloves on comes to the bar and the bartender asks if he’s going to play the piano tonight; he is and shortly heads over to the upright in the corner, begins to play Right Here Waiting.
It seems like a good hideaway, this bar. Sure, you could stay upstairs and watch the passerby, the kitchen workings (which smell mouth-watering), perched at the rail. But those are not my people. My people seek the downstairs, smuggling wi-fi from someone else, using the piano man to cover their conversations made of intrigue, deviance, or sweetness. A windowless bar that isn’t a sports pub or a dive-ah, I never thought I’d see such a thing here. It was once a jazz venue and though I don’t think they do that much anymore, the stage is still in place and there are fliers advertising belly dancing on Wednesdays. A morphing space, this bar.
All the more reason to keep walking around, ya? Never know what kind of pub is going to perfectly suit the moment and with a happy hour that runs until 8? Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner.
That said; get a booth. The stools at the bar are a touch uncomfortable.