“Twelve wings with no bleu cheese or ranch and a Yuengling.” It’s Tuesday, day of the 12 wings and a beer special at my favorite bar. The bartender knows me by name, always remembers my order, and asks where I’ve been, why I haven’t been there in the past week, where my better half is, etc. Sometimes, I feel like my bar tab keeps the lights on.
I live in a college town, so finding a watering hole isn’t hard, but it isn’t exactly easy. There are many bars (some are better than others), but the one thing that remains true is that I’m too old to go to many of them. This isn’t the worst thing to happen, but navigating the waters between the “college shithole dive bar” to “upscale white collar expensive bar” is an arduous task.
When I lived in the frat house, any bar was accessible by walking, pledge taxi or a friend drop-off. Now, the further out of town you go, the more likely it is to have a depressing geriatric clientele or straight-up dangerous white trash. I’m also a proponent of driving safely, so if we go to the $1 cheap shit beer places, it’s either an overpriced taxi covered in dried vomit, piss or worse, or alternatively, someone is sober, which is no fun. Now, I live in an actual neighborhood, so the closest bar is at least a 30 minute walk. We don’t have Uber in my beloved town, so you are at the mercy of the trashy taxi folks. On one forgetful trip, our driver (he looked like a skin head) regaled us of his passion for BDSM and how much he enjoys going to BDSM conventions (I didn’t know they were a thing).
I have two main bars I go to. While I’m not on “Norm” levels at Cheers, the bartenders know what I want before I have to order. They know if it’s Thursday, I’m there for the hotdog and beer special, double chili cheese dog, Tuesday is wing special, and Monday is cheap beer night. Sometimes, I’ll get a little crazy throw in a taco and marg bar Tuesday, but I am a creature of habit.
There’s no shame in being a regular. Some people like the variety, but I look for comfort, specials and booze. When I do go out, something that is a lot less common these days, I am there for one reason: To let my hair down and drink away the stress of the upcoming end of the year report. Nothing takes the edge off quite like a good food and booze deal.
I am very protective of my regular bars. If anyone I know doesn’t give them the utmost respect, I will give them the business and put them in line. A coworker disrespected my favorite bar’s wings, citing two other subpar wing joints (specifically Buffalo Wild Wings which is the McDonald’s of wings) as superior, and I damn near had a heart attack. After a brief confrontation, we are no longer on speaking terms about wings.
There are perks to being a regular. The waitresses and bartenders will occasionally hook me up with free stuff. I always get my beer refilled without having to ask, they offer quarters for the jukebox, extra wings that somehow accidentally made their way onto my plate, and they’ll actually try to change the Law and Order rerun to some MACtion on the TV. Being a regular will also give you some leeway when exhibiting raucous behavior when your fraternity brothers come back to visit or back you up when some out of towners decide to make your bar theirs.
I love being a regular. While there is plenty of time between now and being the depressed old man that sexually harasses the waitresses on a nightly basis, my future is bright. Sure, variety is the spice of life, but to me, I love going to a place that feels like a home away from home. You know what to expect in the food and booze department, and there is no mystery or wait time with the dropouts from the local community college. Sometimes you just want to go where everybody knows your name..
Image via YouTube