A good decision

Every bar has its off nights. Last night I started at the Flying Saucer around 6. By 7:30 I was bored out of my mind. It wasn’t that the bar was empty – it was actually fairly busy for a Friday night – but I didn’t know many people and was in the mood to go somewhere else.

I pulled up Foursquare on my phone, to see where people were. I discovered that I had several friends at the Silly Goose and Max’s Sports Bar. Being right next door, the Goose would be a natural choice for a place to relocate. However, I’d had a good time at Max’s Thursday night, and since the weather wasn’t stifling hot for once, I decided to walk down there.

It was a good decision. The entire gang was sitting at the patio tables outside. I went in, got a PBR in a plastic cup, and came back out. It was good catching up on what is happening in South Main. I’ve spent very little time there this summer, due to the heat and the fact that there are so many good places to go close to home in the core. Also, I didn’t renew my SMA membership this year, so I don’t have the meetings as a source of South Main news.

José, who had been training Thursday night, was back behind the bar and remembered my name and what I like to drink. Max is adding some new employees for football season and has made some awesome hires. He’s going to have Ciara from the Saucer working Saturday day during college football season. She is a perfect fit for the place because she’s such a big sports fan. Cayla from the Saucer will day-bartend on NFL Sundays. I hear there’s another new hire named Renee, who I haven’t met yet, but the regulars speak of her in the same light that they speak of Ciara and Cayla, which is a sure sign she’ll be a fine addition to Max’s. He’s not a hot girl, but after the past two days I’m a big José fan for sure. Then there’s Danny, the barback/cook who is the son of Chuck who used to run Harry’s Detour across the street. Super nice guy and hard worker. Max’s has hired himself a strong staff for football season.

After a couple of PBRs, my friends Mikey and Talley decided to go to “the loft bar,” and invited me to join them. I had seen people checking into “The Loft at the Double J” on Foursquare for the past three months, and couldn’t figure out what all the fuss was about. I thought they were referring to the balcony overlooking the stage at the Double J, where I took photos of a BBQ team board meeting back in March. “That little place?” I thought. “It seats maybe 12. How can it hold as many people as I’ve seen checked in there, and have room for a full bar?”

Turns out I was totally wrong about the loft bar’s location. When the place was Beignet Cafe, there was an apartment in the back, with its own patio facing north toward the Civil Rights Museum. That has been converted into the loft bar. Because it has its own separate address and entrance, it can allow smoking while the Double J itself remains nonsmoking and family-friendly. Country music is not emphasized in the loft bar to the degree it is downstairs, unless someone chooses to play it on the jukebox. The full menu from Double J is available, though. There are several TVs including a couple of 60-inchers. Some of my friends like to go there on Saturdays and sit on the sectional sofa and watch NASCAR. They also have the large patio outside. What a great bar! I can’t believe that it’s been open 3 months and I’m just now discovering it.

With the opening of new spots in the core like Brass Door, Blind Bear, and Aldo’s Pizza Pies, I figured my trips south would be extremely limited this year. But now it’s becoming clear that I will spend a significant amount of time in South Main this fall. I want to spend more time at the loft bar. Also, with Max’s stepping it up not only in terms of good hires, but also drink specials, dollar happy hour dogs, and a full liquor bar, there’s plenty of reasons to go there too. And, of course, I have not yet mentioned the most important reason to hang out in South Main – the people. Lots of good folks down there, who are good to have a beer with, good to talk to, very comfortable to be around.

Thanks to my friend Shawn for offering me a ride back to the core. “You going home?” he asked.

“Yeah. Second and Peabody Place,” I told him. He dropped me off at the Saucer, and I wrapped up the night with a couple of Dos Equis Lagers. I managed to get to City Market right before they closed for Paul’s Drunkass Food. This morning I got to vacuum up all the rice I spilled. I need to think twice about taking home rice dishes when I’ve been drinking beer all evening.

Plan for today is Panda Manda’s bar at Bardog at noon. After that TBD.