Curse the Fern bar. Thumbs down to the Sports Bar. Way down. At what point in the history of public drinking establishments did it become necessary for there to be a multitude of blaring televisions? I do not care for it, friends. TV is the opiate of the masses, not liquor, not even opium. TV, friends—TV.
And I have to admit: Al’s Bar—deep in the hood in downtown Lexington—does have one TV. Annie, the barkeep gets rather absorbed in Days of Our Lives. And that’ll do. Beats the hell out of CNN or ESPN, okay?
The point of this post (in case you thought there wasn’t one) is salutation in fact. Particularly, to the new owners of Al’s Bar. I had heard recently that a handful of intrepid young dudes had bought Al’s, and I was intrigued and simultaneously concerned for their safety. Al’s Bar is no TGI Fridays. In fact, at 6th and Limestone, I’ve tended to drive by and comment to whomever was with me “That is a good place to get your ass kicked.” Suffice it to say: Al’s Bar is no TGI Fridays.
I’m happy to report that my assessment may have been out of order. That’s because this sunny afternoon, I rode my bike over for a cheeseburger on the advice of intrepid radio pal Prof. Griff. What I found was something that I thought had nearly completely dried up—an honest-to-goodness dive bar. A Bar Bar. If you can picture Moe’s Tavern in The Simpsons, then you’re on the right track. I knew I was.
Tilty pooltable, C&W/Ranchero jukebox. Dismal bathrooms. Plenty of tables and chairs (to qualify for Sunday liquor sales). Josh, the kind and cool new owner is a hip younger dude. He’s into healthy stuff, is embarrassed about the bathrooms and promises that the burgers-and-fries menu is going to get an upgrade, all of which is fine; I can suffer some organic produce dishes for the right to sit on a dingy bar stool and rock CCR on the jukebox in near-darkness whilest watching for assorted characters to come in and cool their heels. (Sample conversation snippet: [guy walks in] Bartender: “Leroy! Good afternoon! You want a shot of J&B?” Leroy [laughing]: “Naw, naw…it’s too early…just give me…[concentrated pause]…um…well, Hell, why don’t I just have a shot of J&B?“ He drinks up and hits the door.) Done and done.
I didn’t actually have a drink today, but the cheeseburger and tater tots were vintage and made with love. I’ll be back for the cocktail, no doubt. If you’re in Lexington or nearby, check it out.