Just Like Old Times? (via The Hip Flask)

Republished below is an exceptionally good post, from a blog I’ve just discovered. The subject is bar culture, and I think it will be of interest to many in my generation.

This is as good a time as any to toast the bars of my misspent youth: The Raw Bar in Bethesda; Gentleman Jim’s in Twinbrook; Mr. Henry’s at Tenley Circle; The Schnitzel Haus and the Pirate’s Den in Ocean City; Ireland’s Four Provinces on Connecticut Ave.

And special mention to the bars whose names I can’t remember: That MJC bar? on Upper Wisconsin Ave? Got it, it was called The Lodge. I think it was the first place I drank a beer, when I was 18. And a few blocks south, the Grog and Tankard.

If I habituated all those bars, and lived to remember, I must have had a rollicking good time! The smoking and drinking was a horrendously unhealthy lifestyle. And I admit that I drove my car home from all of those bars, over and over, weekend upon weekend, and in Ocean City, night after night. It is only by the grace of God that I was spared a serious accident. In fact, I never even got a ticket.

I’m thankful I was able to quit smoking at 29, and drinking by about 35. I had good friends who never quit, and they are dead now.

Was life as simple as I remember it then, in the 1960s and 1970s? We can’t have been all that innocent! We had Vietnam, and Civil Rights, and Assassinations, and Watergate. But we still believed in the intrinsic goodness of America, and the U.S. government, and Wall Street.

Without further ado, here’s the post that sparked my bar nostalgia:

Just Like Old Times? A Three Part Lamentation on Modern Drinking Culture Part 1: Progress? The idea of progress and drinking has been on my mind lately.  New drink creations, new styles of decor, and re-imaginations of old classics seem to be all the rage.  New technology follows these new trends, be it bars that pitch their Wi-Fi hotspots or boast of countless high-definition televisions.  These technologies have become ubiquitous in bars and pubs, which has made fi … Read More

via The Hip Flask

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8 Comments

Filed under History

8 responses to “Just Like Old Times? (via The Hip Flask)

  1. I came late to the bar scene. Growing up in a very small town and then marrying right out of college I didn’t do many bars. Now, I have my favorite bar where I am a regular with a plaque on the wall as a good customer and what I consider ‘my’ bar stool. There’s something very soothing about having a group of people to go and hang with, chat about the day and in general just let your hair down!

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  2. tom

    You’re making me thirsty! A great little book exploring the same theme is “The Joy of Drinking” by Barbara Holland. Cheers!

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  3. Ireland’s Four Provinces! My late-and-ex husband lived directly across the street, and it was in the 4P’s, loosened by an unaccustomed pint, that he first let me know he was interested me by saying “Just so you know, I am not a member of the Limp Dick Brigade.”

    I have no idea why he put it that way, but it worked.

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    • Finally, a pick-up line that really works. A rare testimonial! Guys, you read it here first.

      The 4P’s was a wonderful place, and I hope it still is. I haven’t been there in years. That’s the best neighborhood in D.C., with the Uptown Theater, a couple of other bars across the street, and a variety of restaurants. It has a neighborhood library, a small grocery store, and now a Metro stop. The National Zoo is a few blocks south. It’s called Cleveland Park, and it’s pricey in the extreme. Nice old houses all around, and Connecticut Ave. is lined with imposing apartment buildings. If I could find a cheap apartment, I might sell my car, become a confirmed pedestrian, and live there forever.

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      • Actually my late and ex lived there (until she died) with his mother in a rent-controlled dump at the end of Macomb Street. I mean the hallway floor was hideous brown linoleum, kind of ripply, and everyplace in the building smelt of fusty cooking, but it was a place to live. For all I know it still is.

        There was a great little Indonesian restaurant in the next block, for a while. And the zoo just up the road, for a morning walk.

        There’s a Four Courts, related in some business way to the 4P’s, in Falls Church. Never been there. But I remember Irish bands packing the house at the 4P’s on New Year’s Eve, singing “Blinded By Shite,” and a high school friend using an X-acto knife to remove the last four letters from a badly parked truck’s bumper sticker: “Cowboys Make Better Lovers, Ask Any Cow[girl].”

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  4. tom

    The 4P’s is still alive and well in everything except the name. They renamed it “Ireland’s Four Fields” a few years back. Studio apartments in the hood go for about $1400.00 a month.

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