Saturday, May 22, 2004

Bars: why do I hate them? Is it because I don't drink much? Because paying ten bucks for a drink galls when you know the bottle only costs twenty? Because bars are full of loud, drunken, obnoxious people blowing smoke in your face and bumping into you every ten seconds? Maybe it's because it is impossible to carry on a conversation in one without yelling at the other person because at some point in the evening some inebriated fellow decided that using his inside voice was unnecessary, starting a vocal arms race that ends in mutual eardrum destruction.

All I ask for in an evening spot:
- You should be able to hear the person you are with if she is speaking in a normal tone of voice.
- There should be a place to sit down; this may be in a quieter part of the establishment. It should not be covered with unidentifiable liquids or piled with handbags.
- The degree of crowding should not be such that you are constantly being body-checked if you are standing.
- Mixed drinks should not cost ten dollars. There should be a professional and knowledgeable bartender on staff who will not look at you like you have two heads if you order an obscure but delicious drink. Absent these things, have some cider.
- Smokiness in the main space should be minimized, although a separate cigar area is encouraged.
- The other patrons should be a mix of professionals and young people.
- Music, if any, should not be too loud, and must never be by request (drunks have no judgment).
- Easy access to taxis or transit for the trip home.

Is this so much to ask?
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