When I was looking for a new place, I had my priorities and I met all of them. With my needs met, it was only after I settled in there was one thing I did not consider. My local bar.
Because sometimes I don’t want to sit and have a drink or two alone in my place. Sometimes I want to pop over to the bar, have a few brews, watch a game and shoot breeze. But I don’t want to go all the way downtown or across town to do so. A friend introduced me to her good friend’s bar and it was a good fit then. It wasn’t walking distance local, I definitely needed car service to get home, but I made friends and acquaintances there and always felt welcomed there. Since I moved I’ve missed that. I am much further away now, so getting there and back home is not as easy. While I still so pop over there now and again – I know it will not be as often.Thus, I started considering half-heartedly looking for a watering hole closer to where I live now.
A couple of months ago I noticed this bar where I transferred from the subway to the bus on daily commute, Bar 180. Usually I only notice it from across the street as I am waiting for said bus, but I knew it was there. Earlier last month I made myself pass directly in front of it one evening, taking a peek inside the window. Dark, but inviting, a touch modern with it white marble main bar top. It was early in the week, but there were enough customers to not look empty. It looked promising, but I was tired that night and really just wanted to go home. I considered the options. If I like the place it was closer to home travel wise and I would have a choice of bus or cab depending on when I left, which I did not have before. It really could not have been more convenient short of it actually being within walking distance of my place. So I told myself I really should stop in and check it out one evening. Last night as I was walking to my bus bright green balloons caught my attention. It was St. Patrick’s Day – of course! What better day to check out a bar?
I arrived at a good time, it was not yet crowded I was easily able to get a stool at the end of the bar. The first tender was a cutie, his professional greeting smile in place as I ordered a Guinness to start; it was St. Paddy’s Day after all. I started removing my coat, revealing the kelly green and orange colors of the day while I checked the place out. Main bar along one wall, a mix of bar height and standard tables and seating throughout to the glass paned walls facing the streets. Dark and medium woods, contrasted with metal trims and mirrors gave the place a nice cosy, but not cramped feel even as the place filled-up. A bright white full size bicycle was perched high up on one wall, in a corner, was an attention getter. My two favorite things so far 1- the ladies room was on the main floor, no wobbling down stairs to a basement bathroom, especially when wearing heels – yes! 2- the custom chandelier above the main bar. A steam-punkish vibe, made up of at least twenty individual plumbing pipes hanging from the ceiling in various odd angles terminating in Edison bulbs. The bronze-burnished pipes, with the sepia bulbs contrasted beautifully with the ceiling.
A listing of what was on tap, plus their standards appeared. They had a really nice selection of IPAs and a couple of ciders, plus their happy hour and St. Patrick’s Day special. The crew flowed in and out around the bar; a good camaraderie as they joked and teased each other as well as a few of the customers. I don’t know who did their playlist, but the music was on point. Several of us, including the bartenders, could not help but call out, raise our hands and glasses and bop our heads as various personal favorites came across the speakers. As I enjoyed my next Guinness, a small plastic bag appeared near my elbow. I smiled as I opened it, immediately donning the right green beads with the requisite shamrock bearing the Guinness logo – a fitting promotional swag for the holiday. A little tote bag just as mysteriously appeared, okay not so mysteriously as the promoter was standing there when it appeared by my hand, but hey.
The best part of the evening happened when a pretty blond asked if the stool next to me was empty and took a seat once I indicated it was. She clearly knew the bartenders and jumped right in as I teased one of the guys. One placed this pistachio ice cream green concoction before her and I was intrigued and asked for the same. It was a take on the classic vodka grasshopper, but with a little twist and tweak, it was so delish. As they had not come with a name for it, I promptly dubbed it the Irish Hopper in honor of the day.
Charming and engaging she and I joked and chatted, learning we were both Virgos and adored Broadway musicals. As I am still relatively new to the area, she told me about the good, okay and bad eateries. We spoke of our day jobs, and as it turned out, her side job was as a server at Bar 180, but it was her night off. She was there because her husband, the resident beer guy was working. That’s how she knew everyone there so well. It mattered not for all had did their respective jobs well and I was successfully charmed by Bar 180. I will never be any bar’s “Norm!”, but I do believe I have found a new local bar and that’s a good thing.
Edited to add: Lights!@For those who wanted to see them…
Let’s see how others are slicing up their Saturday.