I’m kickin’ it old school today. At the Bread and Ink with a Walking Man Pale Strider-a drop of which has fallen on the pages of my journal. I’m writing on paper today, no laptop to pretend I’m working on, stopping on my way home from work. As the liquid warps the page I think about all the other authors great and small, scribbling away for centuries, maybe more, while having a beer.
Beer hasn’t changed much, has it? Oh, we can gussy it up all we like, in fancy names and extra ingredients but at the end of it; water, grains, yeast. Hops a bit later. That’s it. This is not to ignore or shun the advances in science, contributions of millions of men and women who have improved beer throughout the ages.
But when it’s over, the drink is the drink. Like foolish men have chased silly women, like sunset, like writers have poured soul into ink, ink onto paper, all unchanged. All relentlessly human, so beer has been.
When I started The Local I didn’t expect to come to the Bread and Ink. It was, for all intents and purposes, a cafe, an eatery, and I am not in the habit of going to eateries to drink, inasmuch as one would not go to a lake to surf. Yet here I am. It is at this point that I have to confess a trait I am not wholly proud of: I am a cheapskate.
Oh I believe in paying for the best thing I can afford, but if the best thing happens to be more affordable elsewhere, or if it’s possible to get the next best thing for significantly cheaper…well, I am on a budget.
And so I am in an inoffensive alt-rock playing cafe; pints are $2.50 all day on Mondays.
In addition, the happy hour food is all under $5 and you can get some entirely appropriately priced booze. Sure, only until happy hour ends at 6 but for wage slaves like myself on our way home? You can make out pretty well for $10.
However, I’m trying to get a sense of the Bread and Ink. Why am I here, beyond value–why should you come here? What’s the vibe? I’m near the end of my pint and I don’t know. Is it because this place evokes Portland cliche? Art of plants, cute pictures, chefs in black shortsleeves with precision beards, waitresses both punk and postpunk…have I become used to it all? Is it because this space just is what it is with no pretense to it? Maybe I’m meant to dine here to understand the place.
But it’s also possible that it’s just another stop for a boy and his pen, a place for me to echo the actions of the ages and move on. I got a great pint for a good deal; quit asking for more and go home.