Sidle up to the bar, embrace normal life again



Pictured above: The regulars quickly returned to the bar at Beveridge Place Pub on June 30, 2021.

Washington state fully relaxed its COVID restrictions and we can all sidle back up to the bar. Sitting at the bar in a crowded barroom elbow to elbow with fellow patrons is something that I, and maybe you, dearly missed over the past 15 months.

I have some simple advice as we return to life as we once knew it and hoped it would be again. As we all go back to the bars and the taprooms that we so dearly love…


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Never take it for granted.

Sidle up to the bar and embrace normal life again.

To talk to strangers. Ask them where they grew up and what it was like. Enjoy their tedious stories about White Plains, or Dayton, or Palo Alto, or wherever. Buy them a beer.


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Tell the bartender a joke.

Order something different, something special. Get out of your own wheelhouse, abandon your comfort zone. Enjoy your barleywine or grisette at your own pace.

Get a shot of whiskey or tequila to go with it. Whatever it is.

Write something stupid on the bathroom’s chalkboard. A quote from Shakespeare. A lewd limerick. A lyric from a Beastie Boys song.  

Get your ass kicked at pub trivia.

Ask the best-looking guy in the bar if he would like some company. Do not let his answer disappoint or embarrass you.

Leave the phone in your pocket.

Ask someone if you can join their party. If they seem uncomfortable with the suggestion, politely move along. Don’t take it personally. Don’t judge.

Slow down, be patient, relax.

Eaves drop on what is obviously a first date. Or a last date.

Challenge someone to a game of foosball if that is a game you do not normally play. Throw some darts. Shoot some pool. Waste some quarters on a pinball machine and appreciate the ringing, the clanging, and the thumping of the flippers.

Have one too many, but don’t be a jerk.

Try the steak tartare. Eat a raw oyster for the first time. Tell your server, “Surprise me.” Eat whatever they bring and enjoy it. Or at least tell them that you did.

Tip well. More than usual. Be kind and grateful in every regard.

Close your eyes and take a deep breath. Listen to the chatter and the laughter, the chiming of glassware coming out of the dishwasher, the tinkling of silverware. The bartender shouting an order into the kitchen. Two friends arguing about fantasy football.

Tell a harmless lie. Make up some crazy story and see if anyone bites.

Feed the jukebox. Play a ridiculous old country-western song by Tammy Wynette, Willie Nelson, or Glenn Campbell. Sing along with On The Road Again just to see if anyone else joins in. I bet they will.

Sidle up to the bar and embrace normal life again.

But most of all, never take it for granted.   



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1 thought on “Sidle up to the bar, embrace normal life again

  1. In general, I agree with everything you wrote here and while most of it will likely not happen, “never take it for granted” is the nut of it and that is a great observation. But the rush to “normalize” makes me queasy.

    I firmly expect to mask up, sanitize, and insist on social distancing, probably for the rest of my life. Tragically, half a million dead, the FACT of new variants that are MORE contagious, and the continuing need for caution doesn’t register with even some sensible people, much less the caustic, oblivious people who have sneered at and largely ignored the whole idea of social responsibility. When I’m elbow-to-elbow with someone at the bar, is that a vaccinated person or one of the anti-vaxxer rubes who neither knows nor cares that maybe they’re spewing Covid virus like a lawn sprinkler? I don’t know and neither does anybody else. So, nothing has really changed, for me. Mask, sanitize, six feet distance (I have never particularly seen any reason why anybody should be closer than six feet to me anyway, except for family and friends, who can climb all over me, if they like), and open hostility towards anyone who gives me static about any of it. That, sadly, is the hole we have dug ourselves and those who think all that has magically changed, well, I sincerely hope none of them pays for their new-found “freedom” with their lives.

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