Tonight’s writing I’ve decided resembles trying to tell a story while doing the dog-paddle… In rough seas. Dare I mention again how much I miss the solitude of being on my sailboat?
I was stationed in Fayetteville, NC at Fort Bragg for my time in the military. Home of airborne and special ops! And apparently now home of FORSCOM. It was also home to one of the most awesome bars I’ve known of… The Dog House. It was an old firehouse converted into a bar with plenty of space for an outdoor stage, motorcycle parking, two bars, a stage inside for bands and a few pool tables. It was a mainstream biker bar. Wooden kickstand coasters strategically placed outside since the summers were so hot, bikes would fall over after sinking into the asphalt. There seemed to be something going on every day of the week whether it’d be karaoke or a live band, maybe a wet t-shirt contest. It was a place where regulars were respected and bullshit was not tolerated.
For me it was where a dream would come alive.
I remember sitting with ‘Ski’ one night talking about what we’d be doing when we get out. I only had a few months left at the time and I was dead set on what I wanted to do. I even remember the bar stool I was sitting in when I declared that I would be opening a restaurant. The restaurant I’ll write about later, but the topic of tonight is about finding your local watering hole.
I guess this makes me sound like some sort of alcoholic but one of the coolest feelings I get is when I walk into a bar and not only do they know my name and my drink, but they treat me like family. The Dog House was that place for me. There was even times when I would go and be given one of the ‘special’ parking spots for my bike.
I was a sad day when I had my last drink there. I knew that wherever I went, my new watering hole would have to meet some pretty high standards. The Moon Dogs in Port Orchard was about as close as I’ve come so far, and even that place leaves a lot to be desired. Of course where I’m at now has no hope for my standards in local bars.
I’m looking for my ‘Cheers’, where everybody knows your name. A place where there is no dress code, but the unwritten rule tells you to never step foot inside if you look like some back alley wannabe thug. And spandex is outlawed on anything over a hundred and thirty pounds. A place where douchebags are shunned and beautiful women can show off without being creeped out. A place that NEVER serves beer in a plastic cup. A place where even if the waitstaff has horrendous orgies every night, they don’t let their drama affect the workplace and treat the patrons as they should be treated. A place that instills respect for veterans, and bikers. No rap or New Age music. Live bands all the time. Karaoke on the slow nights. The food has to be good. Period. Peanuts? Check. When the wrong crowds come in the security gets them out. When there’s a sausage fest going on, management takes action. I want worn out bar stools and roughed up flooring. Blood stained bathrooms from old fashioned brawls. Graffiti on the toilet stalls and numbers to call for a good time. I want pictures on the walls of past events, patches from visiting military units. License plates from all fifty states. A bear mounted on the wall. Dart boards, shuffle boards, pool tables, pull tabs, and TVs that don’t show infomercials. I want plenty of seating to accommodate groups as well as single patrons to enjoy the debauchery that better ensue at least three times a week. I want a place where veterans can talk about war stories and firefighters can talk about burning buildings and saving babies. Drinks that have to be illuminated will not be displayed. Well drinks will be made with the good stuff. It will need to have these qualities as well as be clean enough so a group from the office can come enjoy a drink after work without having to act stuffy and professional. If the bartenders are not hot women, they better be damn good bartenders to make up for the lack of sex appeal. Unless its live, music needs to be kept to a level that allows general conversation to be had. The lights need to be bright enough to see your friends but dark enough to hide the fact that you didn’t shake your willie enough after you took a piss. Security will not be allowed to flirt with the women. Security is there not only to keep the peace, but remove the douchebags from the scene so that women will actually want to come. The ‘approved’ guys will then have a reason to not be douches and make it an enjoyable experience all around. The beer must be cold. Actually cold. The whiskey is warm and those stupid dispensers for vanity liquor are kept out of sight.
This is only a short list of what I’d want. Maybe we all have different ideals but at the end of my day, with or without an alcoholic drink, I’d like to find a place like this to unwind. And if I start dating someone, I don’t need her approval of the place, I need the place to approve of her.