The Importance of Proximity: What Makes a Great Local Bar.
If you have a full-time job, then you probably spend the majority of your awake time in an office you can’t stand with people who make you fantasize that abortion was legal up to the 150th trimester. You probably live in a house or home of varying upkeep and condition. You probably live with one or more other persons who you may hate with the intensity of a thousand Suns, genuinely love and respect, or think are just ok-depending on how difficult they are making your life at the particular moment you can recall their name. You need a place to go when you aren’t watching your stories and your boss is not expecting you at work. You need a local bar.
There are lots of things necessary for a great local bar. They are beer selection, clientele, atmosphere, localness, price, and wildcard.
Your local bar does not need to have a 40 beer rotation of super select microbrews that changes every 3 weeks. In fact, this might be a drawback because it will draw people from outside your neighborhood. You do not like people who live outside your neighborhood. They are assholes because they live in lame neighborhoods with nothing worth a shit going on. Instead, they come to YOUR neighborhood to spend money and unwind. They are driving up the cost of EVERYTHING in your neighborhood, including parking and most importantly, the cost of BEER at your local bar. Fuck these people. STAY IN YOUR OWN AREA NEIGHBORHOOD INTERLOPERS!!!
Really, when it comes to beer selection your local bar only needs one beer. As long as it is A BEER YOU LIKE. You aren’t going to your local to experience new flavors or try exotic beers. You are going to escape your shitty job and awful family. You want to climb back into the familiar womb of your favorite cheap beer so that for that brief moment between when that beer touches your taste buds and when it bubbles down your esophagus there is nothing of your current life weighing you down.
Your local bar should never have a line or a cover or a dress code. One of my favorite things about my local bar is that I have gone there unselfconciously in sweatpants and still chatted up a few classy ladies. But it would have been perfectly fine if I drank there in sweatpants and nobody talked to me. Remember, you go to your local bar not because you want to go out and meet interesting people, but because work sucked today and you need a beer.
The bar will lose points for groups of girls yelling WOOOOO and bros icing each other. This is not adult behavior. You can’t yell WOOOO or ice your bro if you are trying to forget the impossible deadline set by your sadistic supervisor. You can’t even stand to be in the same room with these people without murdering them. You do not want them in your local bar. Your local bar is a safe place. The bar will gain points if it is also the hang out of combat wounded veterans, other bartenders, unemployed auto mechanics, and immigrants.
If your local bar even has a theme, it should be poorly executed. One of my favorite neighborhood bars from my days in New Orleans had a nautical theme. How did you know it was nautical themed? There was an old fishing net hanging from the ceiling and on one wall kinda out of the line of sight, there was a big old-timey steering wheel from a big ass clipper ship. The only other decorations were neon beer signs. That is perfect. It is not overdone. Too much crap on the walls will make me think I am in a fucking Applebees. I only want Applebees when I drive through Joplin, Missouri. Joplin, Missouri has an amazing fucking Applebees.
If your bar is designed to look like a train car, then fuck your bar. The Passenger is not a local bar. Fuck that place. If your local bar looks like it was designed by a professional designer, get a new bar. In addition to decor, lighting is very important. If there are more lights than seats, you need a new bar. If you have more fingers than lights, then you are off to a good start. Your local bar should be as dark as possible. Remember you are drinking with people like you, let’s keep eye contact to a minimum.
Localness is a word I made up, just now. It is not hard to figure out, though. Localness is about how local the bar is to your daily life. Can you walk to it from home? Is it on your way home from work? Then its local. If you have to make a special trip and change metro lines then it is not your local bar. 90% of the bar patrons should be from no more than 3 zip codes and half must share a zip code with the bar. Special cases if it used to be in your neighborhood, but you moved or if it is in a neighborhood where you have other activities scheduled (sKeduled, fluff). Activities are anything that you would do anywhere, like softball or some sort of sports game or concert. Activities do not include kickball or antique shopping.
Is your bar cheap? Can you have beers for less than $5? Can you get as drunk as you need to for less than 1/20th of your weekly paycheck*? Then you have a good local bar. If not, you are getting screwed and are probably stupid and deserve to go broke due to half assed fancy pants alcoholism. I will try not to spit on you when I step over you in the gutter in a few months.
*not applicable if you are on unemployment, disability, or trust fund.
Could anything happen at this bar? I mean anything? If a traveling band of midget wrestlers walked in and started drinking Jager shots, would you be surprised? Good local bars have an air of possibility. Not that anything actually does happen there, but anything could. A neighborhood bar holds the promise of possibility. That is the possibility that draws immigrants to this country like strippers to cocaine. That is the possibility that makes this country great.
In conclusion, USA! USA! USA! USA!