People drink for all kinds of reasons, good and bad. Some say that is why a bar is recession-proof: people will drink whether they are happy or sad. I much prefer being in the happy camp, but I can't seem to get satisfied at the cocktail bar.
My favorite drinking experiences haven't occurred in bars at all, far from it. I remember being at my father-in-law's house long before the thought of marriage had entered my head to help move some stuff. When we got done he offered me a beer (if I remember correctly it was a Boston Lager) and we sat outside on the porch all sweaty and gross. We talked about baseball and airplanes. I felt accepted.
Another favorite memory takes me back to college. No not that kind of college drinking. I was rarely found at a kegger or passed out on the front lawn of some big frat party. My roommates and I lived in this quirky little house, and we tried to celebrate any holiday that involved cooking and drinking. Birthdays, the Fourth of July, Derby Day, you name it we did it. A house favorite was Cinco De Mayo. One year we made a big pitcher of Margaritas and sat outside on the picnic table we built the summer before and played cards before cooking up a big taco dinner. I think fondly of that memory anytime I drink a margarita.
Today I am rarely seen at a cocktail bar, but I love making a Martini at home for cocktail hour or Negronis if we are out back grilling. My wife knows the measurements more or less, and we trade off who makes the drinks. Our techniques may be rusty, but the results are excellent, and the conversation and enjoyment are real.
In each of these experiences, the fellowship is what makes them unique. Not that I was drinking but the fact that we are drinking together and talking. There is no need for Instagram or Twitter because the focus is on each other. The drinks are an excuse and a catalyst for real adult conversation and relaxation.
What I can't seem to find in a bar these days is that real feeling. I always feel like I am being sold something. I find the drinks too big and the service too pushy. The focus is on the bar, the beverages themselves, or even the bartender and not on the people that have come to enjoy themselves. Does anyone enjoy themselves at a cocktail bar anymore? Every time I find myself in one, I get the feeling that I am at a magic show that won't end soon enough. I can't seem to get comfortable these days. Bar conversation is all about new places that have opened, politics, or a new bottle of whiskey that so and so put out. Where are the jokes? Where is the chit chat? Why can't we focus on each other?
When we were young, we all looked forward to getting our ID checked so we could belly up at the bar with the adults. Now, as an adult, I look forward to making drinks at home and avoiding the hassle of driving, paying, and putting up with the shtick of the bar. I would much rather be in the park with a bottle of rosé and a frisbee partner, or the backyard with a Negroni in my left and a grill brush in my right while listening to the ballgame.
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Bar To Home
A simple translation from bar to home.