Americans consume an average $25 billion worth of alcohol per year. That number is rising an average of 2 percent a year. As you might guess, most of that money is spent in bars. This huge chunk of our collective paychecks seems like an investment without much return. Writing this, part of me is concerned. The other part wants to purchase a bar.
What is this gravitational pull these taverns and nightclubs have over us? Here’s what I think.
It’s a public place to go and talk and talk and talk and usually at very high volume — like up to 11! About almost anything we want. It’s like freaking talking heaven, man! Do that at most jobs and it doesn’t fly. Your co-workers will conspire against you. It’s highly frowned upon at your local Acme Fresh Market. You’ll get booted right out of the Pat Catan’s for this behavior. I’ve seen it happen first-hand. Bars are our only real option. Thank God for the near 200 that are in this city.
Bars are where ideas fly with opinions and stories, up and down the bar with reckless abandon and enthusiasm. It’s one part venting and one part inspiring. While getting rid of demons that plague our daily mundane lives, we replace them with new ideas and better stories. We lose our inhibitions. Dance, laugh and sing like nobody’s looking. (They are indeed looking, but we don’t care.) Gossip, bitch up a storm and eventually laugh it off. Console, congratulate and acknowledge. We scream at the TV whether our team is winning or losing, like a bunch of lunatics. Play air guitar, that in our minds would make Jimmy Page jealous. Tell jokes that wouldn’t normally be funny, but we are laughing our butts off. The music sounds better and that greasy bar food we order when we’re ripped is just what the doctor ordered.
It’s the booze that loosens you up, but it’s the bar that encourages it.
I would go on, but I know I’m preaching to the choir. That and I’m only allowed 500 words a month in this column. Point is, bars are our playgrounds. They enable us to be kids at heart.
Which is why The Bar Crawler and The Devil Strip are partnering with local bars to create a buzz by helping you catch yours. It’s the Drink Tank and last month, we packed in at Frank’s Place on Market to enjoy a few drinks, share some stories, come up with a couple good ideas and make a new friend or two. We’re doing it again on Thursday, March 22 at Hoppin Frog Brewery from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm. Check the Facebook event or find the ad for details. Let us know what you think and if you want to host a Drink Tank just give us a shout.
The Straw That Stirs The Drink,
Leslie Shirley Nielsen
*Bar Crawler Pick*
Name: Nashville Nights
Area of Akron: Firestone Park
Address: 88 W. Wilbeth Rd.
Phone #: 330-724-7541
Happy Hour: Noon-7pm
Biggest sellers beer/liquor: Bud Light/Absolut
Entertainment: Bands / Pool
Food: No Food
Previously: The Ex-Checker/Excalibur
Celebrity personality: Patrick Swayze meets John Cafferty
Comments: Large roadhouse style music club. I imagine Patrick Swayze running security here while Eddie and The Cruisers play ‘On the Darkside’.
*Dive Bar Pick*
Name: Pegasus Lounge
Area of Akron: Kenmore
Address: 898 W. Wilbeth Rd.
Phone #: 330-745-0194
Happy Hour: 8:30-11am and 4-7pm
Biggest sellers beer/liquor: Bud / Ciroq
Entertainment: Pool / Darts / Karaoke
Food: No Food
Previously: A State Liquor Store/Tally’s Daily Double/Hefty’s Bar
Celebrity personality: Slim Pickens meets Charlie Daniels
Comments: This place is so random. Sits in an old plaza away from Kenmore Blvd. Kinda hard to find. They have these huge paintings of Clark Gable, James Cagney and other celluloid heroes, which seem totally out of place. Dive-bar heaven.