No bar caters to everyone. From the trendy bars in Los Angeles to the blue-collar bars in Boston, there’s something different for all stripes. We could go the positive route and say that’s because people are all wonderfully different and collectively represent the beautiful complexities of humankind…
But in reality, it’s largely based on the fact that most folks tend to be über-critical and are just looking for an excuse to whine. Like the guy who shows up at a high-end club in his shorts and then writes a blistering review about how the “rude doorman refused to let me in. And let me be clear, it was for absolutely no good reason WHATSOEVER!”
Or the scenester lady who goes to a dive and is aghast at how the floors are sticky and the bathroom handles don’t work very well.
Or the imperious hipster… who goes anywhere… and says anything, most of which tends to center around some permutation of “I liked this place before it got popular” or “I can’t believe they don’t carry Nepalese Pliny Bout Dark Stout Oak Hefeweizen Bock! And they call themselves a beer bar, puhhleeeaaaze.”
Of course, there are a few things that bars tend to do which warrant a little universal chastising. And if you don’t agree, why don’t you just go away and listen to Mumford & Sons or something?
We totally liked them before they got popular.
Okay, we’ll make an exception if we’re at some specialty wine bar with rare varietals nobody has ever heard of and we want to avoid throwing down $25 for a glass of Balsamina Shiraz that tastes horrible. But if we’re at the average bar, we’re here to drink. We’re not libation experts, we don’t care that the hops were harvested beneath the full moon and fermented in barrels of Amboyna Burl. Just give us the beer. If we like it, we’ll order another. If we don’t, we’ll order another till we do.
This ties to our hatred of tasting pours, but it shouldn’t be looked at as a lack of appreciation for fine drinks. We’re big fans of a proper cocktail, and we’re more than happy to spend a little extra on something original that’s been prepared with pride. But, donning a vest and a newsboy hat doesn’t make your barback a mixologist, people. And complicated doesn’t mean well-thought-out or good. Just look at the U.S. federal budget.
Bars that have coasters of beer brands they don’t carry!
How does this even happen? You can buy like 2,000 of these things in bulk for less than it costs to meter-park for the night. Serving a craft beer on a Budweiser coaster doesn’t bother us so much, but there’s something inherently wrong with resting a can of PBR on a coaster branded by Allagash Curieux, especially when all you have behind the bar are mass-market domestics.
Really loud music in a bar that’s trying to be a club, but should just be a bar.
Yes, this makes us sound 90, but it speaks more to the fact that we’re convinced most people go to a bar either to talk, catch a game or quietly drink the pain of their failed lives away. It doesn’t matter where you are, whether it’s trying-too-hard bars in Chicago or tucked away bars in NYC, they’re all guilty of it. What’s with cranking up the music so loud we have to practically scream in someone’s ear just to give them the time of day? Keeping the volume up at the club is fine, but if we have to perform charades at a regular watering hole one more time just to get the bill, it will probably lead to a sudden reenactment of Charles Bronson’s Death Wish. Besides, if we wanted to get smashed and scream at people, we’d go visit our in-laws.
You: What do you recommend?
Bartender: We just got a stock of Jolly Pumpkin Bam Biere on draft, it’s a great Saison.
You: Cool, I’ll try one.
Guy Next To You: Ooh, nice choice. I find this to be great Belgian-style beer. It’s made by an artisan brewery in Michigan. They use only wild yeast and age everything in oak barrels with open fermentation. This allows microbiological cultures like brettanomyces to create a wonderfully earthy undertone, and you’ll notice notes of citrus that are just subtle enough to blend perfectly with the spicy malt.
You: Please stop talking.
Theme nights in general
If we wanted to hang out with a bunch of slack-jawed adults buying overpriced food and beverages while costumed staff acted like the entire scene was the greatest thing on earth, we’d go to Disneyland. And probably punch Mickey in the face. Nobody likes Bingo, trivia nights are just an excuse to pretend boozing is educational and anyone who thinks wearing an oversized Hawaiian shirt is fun probably also thought the Macarena was the coolest dance craze ever. You know what bar theme we’d like to see? Serve Me a Drink and Shut Your Face Night.
Also, if Disneyland security calls, we’re not here.