Non-Fiction Friday: The Bartender's Bar

It's been a while since I've been to a bar. I've been so caught up in sampling the latest and greatest in terms of mixology and bar decor that it was unbelievably refreshing to sit down to simplicity. It made me realize that all these other places I've been seeking out are more "drinking experiences" than bars.

We drank at the Speak Easy in Santa Monica the other night. I'm hoping you don't share this blog post with too many people. If the Speak Easy gets busy, or trendy, and it leads to a design renovation and a customized cocktail menu, it will be tragic.

Noriko Nakada cleaning up at pool

At 8:00 on a Wednesday night we almost had the place to ourselves. There was an older man at the bar drinking beer (who later showed me the right way to hold a cue stick), a college kid whose bike leaned against the nearest bar stool, and Ruth, the bartender. The latter two were playing pool together and neither thought anything of it when Ruth slipped away to make my friends and I drinks.

Of course, when you don't have a complicated cocktail menu to live up to, or tables to turn, or social media followers to recruit, you can make drinks and play pool with the regulars. If customers stay and have a few, great. If they leave after one sip, whatever.

The juke box is 25 cents and a game of pool is 75. A Whiskey Sour is 6 bucks and stronger than the glass it's served in. There's no sink in the women's bathroom so be prepared for that one and if you want to speak to the owner about it he's there at 9:30 p.m. on Thursdays like clockwork.

This is not the place to see and be seen. If you're looking for a cucumber honey saffron infused martini, you made a wrong turn. But if you want a good ol' fashioned bar, and a place to have conversation about your lives instead of the menu or the servers' costumes, this is your spot.

In the spirit and support of all the dive bars across America, frequent one this lovely Friday night in your neck of the woods. Let them know what you love about it and then beg them never to change.

1st Sunday Books Review: North County Times

Thirsty Thursday: Blueberry Whiskey