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Sanctuary

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Crown Royal, May 10, 2014.

  1. Crown Royal

    Crown Royal
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    Just call me Topher

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    I never really had a "regular" bar, my friends had a pub that they really liked going to but I was too extroverted to hang out in the same bar every single weekend where nothing much exciteing happened. I wanted to try every kind of place, where they where be other music and, you know, women.

    Formerly in my city there was the answer to all of that. It was a black hole of decadence called The Ridout Tavern. But it wasn't a really tavern, but five very different nightclubs connected from the interior all together in one large building complex. They were The Ridout, Cristo's, The Warehouse, The Ramp and Zeke's. It could hold a couple thousand people when packed (which it was from Wednesday to sunday) and served up $2 bottles, $0.50 "party" shots and $6 pitchers of beer. For a young power drinker, it was filthy heaven. Lots of under-agers were getting in back then with the laminated fake ID's and it was easy to get thrown out in one bar then just walk around to the next entrance and you were back in again. If you were single you had a 50/50 shot of getting laid at the place. If not, you could watch one of the twenty fights that would break out in the bar or out in the parking lot at night. It was hard to walk away from this place on ANY night without an amusing story(s) to tell the next day. If you REMEMBERED it.

    If I was to remember the ten best times of my life while out with friends, I'd be willing them to bet that five of them happened at the place. We always knew a huge amount of people and it the late 90's bar regulations and social structures were still pretty lax so there wasn't all this uptightedness and obsession with self presentation like you see a lot of today. It was a place you went to get drunk and have a good time and the security didn't care if you got hammered and yelled shit at random or passed out in your chair. As controversial of a place that it was
    it was our bar and we will always love it, now gone and buried in an unmarked grave under a towering condominium high rise. Thank you, Ridout Tavern for making me learn to love going out.

    Focus: Your all-time favourite watering hole. What was it that made it so special to you?
     
  2. Nettdata

    Nettdata
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    Mr. Toast

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    Fuck that... Call The Office, circa 1985, was the bar that started it all for me. I played in bands there, I drank underage there, hell... EVERYONE drank underage there. One of my best friends from high school got killed by a sucker punch at the Ridout... so fuck that place.

    Now? There's shit for a decent bar in London... well, maybe Molly Bloom's... live music and plenty close to the Western chick residences. And you haven't lived until you've experienced Joe Dirt Karaoke... it's like Dixie Bandit did kareoke pretending to be Axle Rose.
     
  3. Nettdata

    Nettdata
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    Mr. Toast

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    It's Tuesday, so of course we need to go out drinking already... the week's almost over.
     
  4. xrayvision

    xrayvision
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    There are a few places around here that I love because they are the very opposite of douchebag infested clubs/bars.

    The Kelvin Arms. Its a Scottish pub that was built in an old bank building. Its not a terribly sophisticated place but the vault is a separate room with couches and throne-like chairs. They have a wall of scotch of almost any type you could ever want and a great selection of beer. But without the pretentious atmosphere of a sophisticated whiskey specialty place.

    The Bone Yard. Its a dog park and bar in one. They have a great selection of craft brews, local and otherwise, but they are a little pricey. The best part is out back, they have a large fenced in area lined with picnic tables and you can bring your dog and just relax and drink while they play. A different food truck parks out front every day.

    Woodrows(in the heights) There are a lot of places around here that go by this name. But for some reason, this place is not part of that chain. This place is a somewhat divey cajun restaurant with awesome drink specials and excellent food. One time, a few years back, they got a shipment of Shiner light blonde but it was in cans instead of bottles so they sold them $1/can to get rid of them. And the Jack Daniels girls were there promoting their honey whiskey and just handing out shots. That was the most drunk night I've had since living in Texas.
     
  5. JWags

    JWags
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    I've never really had a "favorite" bar cause, similar to Crown, I like to go to a bunch of places. My first two living situations in Chicago resulted in nearby bars that we got to know the waitstaff at and became regular hangout spots, but that was less because of the bar itself and more of proximity and then friendships.

    Also, two of my favorite bars in Chicago changed so radically in the time that I lived here that they aren't the same.

    English- It was a pretty large, three story bar. Sort of upscale in furnishings, the upper two floors had dark walls with large black and white pictures of old Chicago and a few portraits. The first floor was all glassy and brass with big windows in the front which opened to the street when it was warm. It was an eclectic and interesting mix of people. I once gave Derrick Rose a high five there when he was still very much underage (INSERT LAME JOKE ABOUT HIS KNEE EXPLODING ON IMPACT). But recently it was flooded with douche-canoes from the suburbs. Now being from the burbs isn't patently offensive on its own, but these are the "WOOO, my one night out in the city a month!" bros that normally infest Wrigleyville. Really love American Eagle, Affliction and are accompanied by semi-trashy hot chicks who would be heavy in demand in the city but since they live in the boring ass burbs, they end up dating schlubby bros with ratty goatees who work at Best Buy. So that ruined that bar until it cycles again.

    Empire Liquors-I discovered this bar right after I moved to the city, about 9 months removed from my last college internship in NYC and it reminded me of alot of the cool divey lounges I used to love in Manhattan. Dark lighting, great music, sleek aesthetic, tables with lacquered and finished tree trunks, just a cool spot overall. Then almost overnight, it got, ahem, urban. Not that I cared that much about the change in the clientle, but once a dude got stabbed there (or just outside), I decided the atmosphere had changed for the worst. It closed shortly thereafter and is now some cliche craft beer bar.

    As for now, I just like diversity. Of location, of vibe, of patrons. My old roommate would go to the same bar almost every night. He knew a bartender and could get really cheap drinks and expedite his reckless blacking out. In his mind, every bar was the same so he was going to go to the one with the cheapest drinks. It was dumb logic, but then again, he also claimed its superiority cause of the number of girls he pulled out of there (NEWSFLASH: Still not that many) was much higher than other places, ignoring the statistical bias in comparing the bar you go to 80% of the time vs anywhere else. That shit is just not for me.
     
  6. Kubla Kahn

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    Murphy's Pub in Clifton. My favorite hangout during college. The outside can really fool you as it looks like a small traditional saloon with a bar taking up one side of the room. The place is huge and has multiple areas as you go deeper into the bar. A darts area, foosball nook, pool room with ski ball and more darts, and a back patio that is walled off from the surrounded area with Ivy vines creating a very intimate setting. It really it is really more of a towny bar during the week but has a good college crowd on the weekends. We used to go play pool there a lot. They have free pizza night once a week where they order a shit ton of Papa Johns for everyone and have build your own hot dogs a few days a week as well. They also have the best kegs and eggs party for Saint Paddy's day that Ive been to. Not much on the crazy debauchery end. Just a great place to hang.

    I Love Shanghai, Shanghai China. My go to watering hole in China. 100 rmb all you can drink Saturday's were a bulk of my drinking in China. Red Bull and vodka's with packets of Extra Joss were deadly and the reason I can't relate many good stories of the place. I never had more strictly black out friends as I did when I drank there. Place was kind of a shit hole and mostly for American high school and college students. I played softball for the bar's team.
     
  7. xrayvision

    xrayvision
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    A place that used to be my favorite was a cigar bar in a nice part of town called Downing Street. They had an awesome humidor inside if you didn't bring your own cigar. I would bring my pipe and just relax with a glass of scotch.

    I think the fire marshall found some sort of violation there and made it so you couldn't smoke inside the building anymore. And boom, place is pretty much gone now. They eliminated the one aspect that brought people there in the first place.
     
  8. Hoosiermess

    Hoosiermess
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    I've always kind of gravitated to the small town bars around here rather than clubs. My favorites have changed over the years as I've moved around a bit.

    The Landmark was the only bar in town and I knew the owner fairly well, enough that sometimes he would close down and we'd have a few drinks joking around. I guess I know the new owners as well but I moved and haven't been back for several years.

    Raymonds is in the town I grew up in, and still work. It's just a comfortable place to meet up after work and have cheap drinks. Even better now that its non-smoking.

    I've spent most of my time in chain sports bars for some reason lately. Not bad but not really a "sanctuary".
     
  9. Juice

    Juice
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    Moderately Gender Fluid

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    Theres an enormous amount of bars in the Boston-Cambridge-Somerville area. Any visitor definitely has their choice for a theme theyre looking for whether it be upscale, hipster, hole-in-the-wall, dive bar, sports bar, etc. My favorite is one in Boston's (italian) North End called Stanza di Sigare. Its an old fashioned cigar bar, one of the last two in the city, and has an 1940s theme to it. They have an expansion cigar and whisky menu and the owner hires super attractive waitresses who are extremely knowledgeable on cigar and whisky pairings. The inside looks like this:

    [​IMG]

    Its my go-to place on Fridays when meeting up with my friends.

    Another good place is called DRINK. Theres no drink menu whatsoever, but you tell the bartender what kind of flavors and alcohol you like and he whips up something completely customized. Ive never had a bad cocktail there.
     
  10. Misanthropic

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    I've posted many times on this and previous boards about My Bar - J.T. McQs in New Jersey.

    This has been my go-to bar for 24 years. I discovered it early one summer when I was home from college. I had been out late one night, and was lying in bed when I heard the telltale rattle/crash of empty beer bottles being transferred to a recycling bin. The next day I went over to the new strip mall about 500 feet from my parent's house, and there was a new sports bar. It is also a package goods store, so when you walk in it doesn't look like much. But it had pool tables and 50 different imported beers, so I sat down and gave it a try.

    I've been a regular since then, with a hiatus in the mid 90s when I moved downstate. All of my friends, ex-girlfriends, and my wife have been here with me. I had my buddy's bachelor party here, celebrated graduations, and have been at numerous St. Patrick's day parties, halloween parties and fundraisers here. My now-deceased dad and i used to go here for a beer or three. I've seen ownership shift, bartenders and regulars come and go, and smoking outlawed. I've hooked up with several different barfly's, ran into old high school classmates, and re-kindled old freindships here. I've been there longer than the owner's wife (I remember when she started as a bartender). One of the few things I haven't seen here is a fight - it's not that kind of a place. The folks here are generally an amusing, and usually friendly, crowd. We've had Irish wakes for regulars that have passed, and celebrated birthdays innumerable. The crowd is a good mix of older and younger folks, white collar and blue collar, the unemployed, and the very successful.

    These days I'm mostly a happy hour guy, and I stop in anywhere from 1 to 5 times a week (including the occasional Saturday). I'm usually in and out in about half an hour to an hour. I have few laughs, feel the stress melting away, and leave my baggage at the door. . This absolutely my Sanctuary.
     
  11. comforter

    comforter
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    Experienced Idiot

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    Occidental Cigar Bar, in the financial district in SF. The one legal place in the city to smoke indoors. Super chill vibe, OCD-levels-of-knowledgable staff*, and the added thrill of semi-illicitness and getting stink-eyed by passers-by. The restaurant next door will also deliver if you ask nicely. I've never met a jerk there, though I'm sure they exist. (Slightly pompous stogie smokers? Yes, some of those. No jerks, though).

    *They're all owners, not employees, which is how they get around the smoking ban. So you can also support small business and entrepreneurs with your drink and smoke.
     
  12. xrayvision

    xrayvision
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    The nice thing about the excessive amount of indoor-outdoor bars/ice houses in Houston is that they generally allow cigar smoking outside when most places only allow cigarettes. Which is baffling to me, but oh well.
     
  13. Fabrique

    Fabrique
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    This. My friends and I have spent many a night here listening to punk bands while drinking mediocre beer. After a while we ended up going to The Wreck'd Room for cheaper beer and harder music. My friend used to bounce at Wreck'd Room too, so we would always go harass him while he was working.
     
  14. Crown Royal

    Crown Royal
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    Just call me Topher

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    My friend described the Wreck'd Room as "Where you go to cut yourself."

    Call The Office is an institution, a landmark of this jerkwater berg. I've seen some popular bands in that little dive, from Radiohead to The Misfits to yes, Nickelback in 1997 who used to play decent hard rock and could smoke me under the table. Those boys LOVED their weed.

    Their two weekly theme nights, Raygun (New Wave/Retro) and Mo Gravy (funk) have great music and exceptional people-watching dibs.
     
  15. Nettdata

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    Mr. Toast

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    In my day , it was Blue Rodeo with Jack De Keyzer, Sheep Look Up, White Punks on Funk, The Shuffle Demons, The Bourbon Tabernacle Choir, and on and on. Awesome acts that we watched in a bar that was barley half of it's current size.

     
    #15 Nettdata, May 20, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 27, 2015
  16. Volo

    Volo
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    The Castle Tavern in Inverness, Scotland.

    I've no Scottish blood in me, but Inverness is my wife's real home. It was on August 16th, 2011 that we spent the day there, eating, drinking, and smoking cigars just outside of the building, with the castle just in the distance, and the Loch Ness not a stone's throw from where we were sitting. We'd been married only a couple weeks, and every man and woman who passed by our table toasted to our good fortune and wished us the best in our coming years. I'm sure the sight of a gangly Indian probably provoked most of the attention, but once they'd found out we were newlyweds a cheer would erupt and the drink would flow once more.

    For hours upon hours, I sat next to the woman I loved, in a place she'd always wanted to come back to. The air was warm, and every now and again it would drizzle, as Scotland tends to do. Just as the sun was coming back up we staggered to our B&B, and along the way splashed around in the Loch Ness, parts of which are only a few feet deep. We shouted and laughed as we walked in the door, much to the dismay of our host who likely had to clean up after a couple of soaking wet goofs who'd tracked mud and dirt all over her home. We bought her roses the next day in a peace offering. When we departed soon after they were in a vase near the guestbook. I think she had accepted our apology as my wife hugged her tight and thanked her.

    I have dozens upon dozens of bar stories, most of them not worth repeating, and only a few truly worth the memory. But that night, everything was right with the world. One day I hope to return.
     
  17. jordan_paul

    jordan_paul
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    Disturbed

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    The Ranch in Guelph, Ontario.

    It was incredible for a country boy who was 17/18 because if you went in with a big group of people who were over 19 they would let you right in. The Ranch was full of city girls that came from the University of Guelph and Conestoga College. You could pick them out pretty easily by the way they dressed; ugly knee high, high heeled loose fitting boots and American Eagle plaid shirts, and they could pick us out the real country boys just as easy. For a few months I went there every Friday and Saturday night. I specifically learned how to two step just so it would increase my chances with city girls in that place (there was a reason it was nicknamed The "Last Chance" Ranch). I'm fairly confident I got chlamydia from a woman I pulled out of there.

    But those days are all behind me, I rarely go and when I do it's with the wife for an old friends birthday or something.
     
  18. kindalas

    kindalas
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    The Red Dot in Osgoode

    It is a typical small town hole in the wall Restaurant with attached Bar.

    Except the food is amazing and low cost.

    They have the best Wings, Nachos and Quesadillas that I have ever had.

    I have been going there for my entire life and it has spoiled every other restaurant for me because to get food as good as theirs I'm paying 2-3 times as much. So wherever I go I feel like I overpaid for acceptable food or that they food was just terrible.

    Edit: For picture size.
     

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  19. CharlesJohnson

    CharlesJohnson
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    A good bar is an extension of yourself. It could be your home when home isn't home anymore. It's a place where you go to forget the outside world. A bad bar is a place where people go to wait for death.

    It was called The Dirty Dwarf. This D&D/Renfair dude bought an old butcher shop built in the 20s, turned it into a beer bar. He carved the furniture himself, he carved the f'n bar himself. If he chiseled it whole from a 20 foot hunk of redwood that would not surprise me. This was around 2002. Right before the beer craze began here. He was the first place to sell Hendricks Gin, in fact he poured me my first glass of it. 100 beers. Good stuff too, not just different iterations of Bud/Miller products. For whatever reason it never took off. I like to think he was before his time. He (I forgot his damn name) stopped paying his electric bill and the next thing I know the place is a German bar called Little Munich. I still go to Munich. Much of the decor is the same, but with more German flags and a ton of German beer. However that place is now depressing to go to when you and a couple 50+ year olds are the only ones at the bar and the owner is sloshed. The bartenders also suck. Not a lot of people want to join you in a joint like that. It'll be gone soon, no doubt, and I will be homeless.

    The Driskill Hotel Bar in Austin, TX. Think of it as Cowboy Chic. If John Wayne had a library it would look like this place. There is not one surface not made of leather or some kind of animal part, save for the bar and some copper work. Probably the most comfortable place I've ever been. Huge leather sofas you sink into. The bartender is a class act. Older fella, makes a good martini. He actually researched a drink I requested, but they didn't have the proper ingredients.

    The interior:

    [​IMG]

    Also in Austin was Doc's. A renovated garage. Awesome place, comfortable. Pretty damn huge patio. I wish I got to hang there more.

    The Rum Bar at The Speakeasy Inn in Key West. Capacity is about 15 people. It is tiny. They do $5 rum punches all day. Killer mojito for $8. Low light, soft music. Great rum selection. The locals hang there, so it's a good place. Bartender even told us where to get some bitchin' Caribbean grub. We were in town for 3 days, we went back to this place 2 nights. It's a proper oasis away from louder, crowded joints.

    Maison Premiere in Brooklyn. An absinthe and oyster house. Not necessarily a home away from home, but I had one of the best nights of my life there. Couple dozen oysters, bottle of wine. Everything was right in the world for a time. Wine list is about 100 strong. 23 kinds of absinthe I've never even heard of.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    French 75 Bar at Arnaud's in New Orleans. Classic, old school New Orleans bar. Wood everywhere, subway tile floor. They know how to make a drink. A real drink, an exquisite drink. The best you've ever had, the way that drink is supposed to taste. The bartenders wear white coats un-ironically. I can't stress that part enough. It is, however, incredibly small and sometimes packed. It's just such an awesome place. A real time warp stepping into it. Also do not make the mistake of eating at Arnaud's because it is overpriced and kind of mediocre.

    [​IMG]

    Napoleon House in New Orleans. Some people say this place is touristy, but I did not get that vibe. Another old as hell joint. Proper drinks, affordable, still made right. That's the best thing about New Orleans, you can throw a rock and hit a bartender that knows what he's doing. Warms my cold heart. This place also makes a really nice mufalleta sandwich. I could spend all day here. Practically unchanged. Time stops here in a good way.

    [​IMG]

    I'm jealous of you folks in NY or other big city type areas. In NY you walk about 50 feet and there's a proper bar with a seat just waiting for you.