Saturday recap: Rediscovering Bardog, out-of-town friends

You know, this month I have really rediscovered what at great place Bardog Tavern is to hang out. It’s not like I didn’t know this: I’ve been coming every Saturday for years, and for the first year and a half Bardog was open I hung out there most every day. In recent times, though, it seems like I haven’t paid as much attention to this great locals’ bar – also the closest bar to my front door – as maybe I should have.

There were several reasons why. For one, Bardog was the first of the new locals’ bars to open in the Downtown core. As places like the Silly Goose and Blind Bear opened later, my attention was divided.

Another reason was that the law school opened. When I went in Bardog 2011ish the place would be packed with law students. It became a situation where I’d walk in and not know anyone of the 100 people there, as opposed to the old days when I’d know half the people sitting at the bar.

A third reason was my addiction to Foursquare. If you check in at a venue more than anyone else over a two-month period, you become “mayor.” As “mayor” of both the Flying Saucer and Blind Bear (and for a while in 2013 the Silly Goose as well) I felt obligated to go to those places to defend my mayorship. That left little time to visit Bardog.

This month, though, I’ve been going back more and the place really feels like home. It’s no longer super crowded with law students. I know half the people at the bar like I did in the early days. I’m rediscovering great food like their sliders and their deluxe grilled cheese. Of course, the staff there is just awesome. Aldo knows how to hire good people.

Another plus is that Bardog rides the PBR train. I can go in there and get my favorite beer on draft for $3.

Yesterday was full of reasons why I enjoy being at Bardog. I got there at 11 and started the day with my “DAWG” John D. We’re the two constants on Saturday morning; you never know who else will show up. They had the Tigers-UConn game on ESPN and our friend Mike showed up to watch. Then our friend Buddha came in. A little later in came our friends Misty and the Nuh-Uh Girl, who had just finished the Move It Memphis 5K.

Mike ordered one of the brunch specials, a lump crabmeat omelet. The Nuh-Uh Girl tried a bite from his plate and said it was very good.

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A bit later in the day, our friend Buddha ordered one of the best appetizers on Bardog’s menu, four meatballs which are Aldo’s grandmother’s recipe, along with a slice of bread for dipping in the marinara sauce. Here are a few pics of the Nuh-Uh Girl finishing Buddha’s balls off.

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There was a lot of Fireball being consumed, which led me to take an early “halftime” nap. I got back out at 8:30 and went back to Bardog. I wasn’t there long though. I got a text from one of my BBQ teammates who told me to come to Bluefin for a “VIP surprise guest.” There were two surprise guests, actually, two of the crowd that hung out on the Number 10 Main rooftop in the summer of 2005. They have both gone on to very successful business careers, and both live in the Chicago area now and were back in town for a visit. That summer was a blast. There was a chef in the building who cooked for his family of 4 on the rooftop grills, and would always cook extra for the neighbors. We’d bring wine to share with the chef and his wife, and that always made conversation interesting. In one such conversation in late May, after much wine I decreed that June 2005 in my then 1-year-old blog would be a special month – “Tube Top Month,” a tradition which continues to this day.

About midnight I powered on my phone to check the time. “The streak may get broken today,” I thought. I had a streak of checking in at the Flying Saucer on Foursquare going for 293 days in a row. That included a couple of days when I was sick and had to call in to-go orders (too bad you can’t get beer to go) to maintain my streak. I was having a good time with my friends, though, and wasn’t going to leave. If the streak gets broken, so be it, I thought.

However, about 12:30 everyone paid their tabs. There was a lot of sushi left over. Too bad the Nuh-Uh Girl wasn’t there for leftovers. Those tempura rolls looked really good. I need to get by Bluefin and try them soon. The group decided Raiford’s was the next stop. I did not have enough gas left in the tank for dancing, so I said my goodbyes and made it to the Saucer for consecutive checkin 294.

I’m making a resolution that from now on, I will not let Foursquare dictate where I hang out. If I break consecutive-day streaks or lose mayorships, I will not worry about it. However, since I’m so close to 300 I will hold on to the Saucer streak until Friday.

I got another treat in the form of an out-of-town visitor at the Saucer: My friend Joe, who is a pilot, has been based out of Indonesia for the past 6 months. He’s back in town for a week and it was good to catch up. He and I both like spicy food so we had that to talk about. He showed me a pic of a sumptuous seafood meal and told me it cost him US $2.62.

I finished back where I started, at Bardog. What a great Saturday and a great reminder of how much I love my life Downtown.

Time to go get checkin 295 done and then figure out the rest of the day.