Anybody have a place like the one described in the Cheers theme song? Someplace you can pretty regularly go (not at work or in the home) where you’re likely to see a couple people who know you, unwind, discuss the matters of the day, etc.? Doesn’t have to be a bar - could be a club, or a church, or a bowling alley, etc. Tell us about it. How’d you find the place? Was it hard to become a known “regular” there? How closely did your life become entwined with those of the other regulars? Any fun stories?
I have a bar like that. We all started going there because a friend of ours had a gig doing karaoke, and ended up liking it so much that we stayed. Now I don’t even call my friends to see if they’re there. I show up and know I’ll see at least a few people I am friends with and want to talk to. All of the bartenders know my drink and don’t even ask.
There are a couple of restaurants close to where we live that my wife and I frequent where we’re recognized by sight by the proprietors, but I don’t know anywhere like that where anyone actually knows my name–certainly not in any social sense.
I used to, about 15 to 20 years ago, before marriage and kids. In a previous life and all that.
My place is a pseudo-divey neighborhood bar. I have the phone number of every bartender that works there and the owner. I went to one of the bartenders wedding. Among my current friends are people I met in that bar.
I first started going there about 9 years ago when I got locked out of my house. I had to wait for the SO to get home so I went in search of a place to catch whatever sporting event was playing. It was kinda divey but not too bad and the regulars seemed friendly enough so I just kept going and eventually become one of the regulars.
Several years ago my sister and I had a sushi place we went to sometimes once a week. The staff knew us and would get us a pot of tea right away (we could drink a pot and half by ourselves, so it was easier for them). I go back when I can, but it’s farther away now and I have a lot less money.
There’s a sushi place in town where they recognize me, I think mostly because I’ve worn Japanese clothes there a couple of times. I haven’t been in a while, which is a shame because it’s a really nice place.
I went to the TGI Friday’s in Doha, Qatar for the first time. The entire staff knew me from the shops in Saudi Arabia. Apparently they get transferred in and out.
Sure, there are some neighborhood bars around here like that. But I never go there, because everybody knows my name.
My husband and I have 3 places like that in town.
One is a local brewpub (albiet a fairly well-known one in beer circles), one is the local college / local yokel bar, and one is a true, gritty and fabulous dive bar.
We were pretty much instant regulars at the brewpub. We walked in and sat at the bar within a week of it opening. One of the owners used to work with me. We chatted with the bartender working that day, and just hit it off with him. We still see him and his wife (who also works there) often and say hi. We’re pals with most of the staff and 2 other bartenders in particular who greet us by name, shake hands, and confirm our beer choices. And they’re almost always right. We’ve stayed after closing a couple of times and just hung out and chatted a bit. And my husband and the owner/brewmaster chat often about brewing.
We found the college bar through an online friend I think. It’s in the basement of an old Victorian mansion and at the time had no signage at all, so if you didn’t know it was there, you just didn’t. Yet everyone in town knows it’s there. It’s since changed owners and has several signs. Same bartenders there though, and one in particular is our good buddy. She also greets us by name and calls out our drinks when we walk up or sit down at the bar, and she is always right. And probably just circumstance, but I’ve yet to see her do shots with any other patrons. I’m sure she must, I just haven’t witnessed it yet. I don’t even like shots, but when Trish asks me if I want a ‘buttery nipple’ the answer is always ‘yes, please.’
She did a couple with us on Halloween night, when they were packed to the gills and I just assumed she wouldn’t have time to chat or whatever. She didn’t really, but she spent enough time with us to catch up quickly and have a shot, and then again later in the evening.
And the dive bar is the closest bar to our house. About a mile and a half. I’d been wanting to check it out for years, then finally got the courage one night when a friend was in town. At that time (maybe 6 years ago or so) people were smoking inside. It’s got a couple of pool tables, a horse shoe pit out back, and a lucky crane machine with porn and stuffed animals. And the patrons are just the salt of the earth. Good people mostly, but the place can definitely be a little intimidating on certain nights. Same deal here, the bartenders here (father and son team) both know our names and they shout them out jubilantly when we walk in the door, and confirm our drink choices, buy us drinks, have drinks with us, etc. They do it for just about all the regulars, and most people in this place know each other. This is by far the most ‘Cheers’ like I think, in a scary, divey, kind of way. Mostly older, run down, rode hard crowd, looking to let it all go over a beer, play the jukebox, shoot some pool.
We know at least a dozen regulars at each individual place and will chat and drink with them when we’re there, and if we happen to see them out and about town we’ll make a point of stopping to say hello. No real crazy stories to tell that I can think of though.
There is a bar here called Flaming Moe’s. It’s in the Queen’s Park Beer Bar area in Sukhumvit Soi 22, with a sign prominently featuring the barman from “The Simpson’s.” Their motto, proudly displayed in the window: “Where Nobody Knows Your Name.”
Tongue in cheek, of course, considering it’s such a friendly little place. But believe me, with some of the characters we have running around this town, that might be a good drawing point if it were true.
I’ve several places, thanks to being a beer geek and getting chummy with bar owners. Most of them are beer geeks, too, and must obligingly provide Miller Lite to pay the bills while dreaming of rows and rows of rare casks and firkins.
One of my favorite haunts wasn’t a beer place - it was a nice dive that did rockabilly nights once a week. Tommy Conwell played there weekly and, once in a blue moon, so would Brian Setzer. Old movies like Reefer Madness would play on the one TV. The other TV had a sign on it that said “Talk to the person next to you.” R.I.P. Blue Comet, we hardly knew ye.
I think I could count 3… but they were years ago. The first had an “Around the World in 80 beers” challange, which several friends and I completed. We obviously met and befriended most of the staff. This made it great when I met my then 19 year old girl friend… now my 40 something wife.
The next was one we really didn’t go to that often, but we must have done something right. It is probably one of the most famous college bars in the state, and the school’s once famous BB team was in the national championship, and even though I had to work late, my wife and friends (not my wife at the time) managed to save a table and somehow I walked past the line of people (with all the signs about not saving tables) and see them win the big game.
The last was an Irish pub a few blocks from our first home… they had great food, and when we came in they had a pitcher of our favorite beer at our table waiting for us. The best was on a St. Patty’s day and the line was out the door, but the couple we invited was surprised that we had “our table” set aside and waiting when we came in.
Guess I should add that this was all over 15 years ago… since that is when our first kid was born and our bar hopping days ended.
I’ve got a place like this, but its not the same anymore.
When I was down on my luck, I used to wait tables at a pool hall. They had a dart league. These folks became ‘my crew’. At first, I used to make sure I knew the moment they came in the door and knew all their drinks by heart. They would have the first round on the table before they had their jackets off and darts assembled. We all became great friends.
We rocked this bar. Even on my days off, I would show up and get blotto for cheap because we were all buying each other drinks. Ah, good times. Believe me, our group has had some wild experiences in that place.
Now, not so much. Though whacky things still happen, I’m not a part of them. A new generation has taken over, to include changing owners who would allow the sort of schenanigans that we used to pull would go over. But it’s still a fun place. Just not my kind of fun.
There are a few bars in the city where I’m almost guaranteed to meet someone I know. There’s a wee Irish pub in particular where several of my friends hang out. We go there after work through the week regularly and meet there for football matches and pre-clubbing drinks. When one of my friends worked there we had lock-ins regularly but not so much anymore.
We used to have another pub where we knew all the staff well enough that they’d drink with us, give us free food and generally have a laugh with us. It’s a student-oriented pub, though, and most of the staff and old regulars have moved on now.
In my small hometown there’s a pub where I know all the staff and will probably know 80 – 90% of the other drinkers at any given time.
Sheesh, just about everywhere. When you live in a small town, it happens, unless you are a recluse and never leave the house.
There’s one place where we’ve become pretty good friends with the owners (they’ve been to our house, we’ve been to theirs, etc) and there’s a circle of friends who gather there a couple nights a week. Go on those nights, and it’s insta-party, to the point that if we don’t want to hang out, drink too much wine, and socialize, we have to avoid the place on certain nights.
When we are in the mood, it’s a blast!
You know, I’m not generally very good at the social networking thing, but I have been really working at trying harder. And thus…
Church: everybody knows my name there … mostly 'cause I am up the front leading worship pretty regularly. We get together with lots of people pretty often, meals, parties, camps, all sorts of things. That is what church is about.
Pub: Our local is owned by a couple from our church, and I want to support them as much as possible. I know fewer people there than my wife (who works there) but most of the regulars know who I am. I don’t go there to drink (I don’t) but I have meals, help out on special events, sort out the computers, swap barrels, and am generally part of the furniture. I have a few good friends from open music nights - we get together for meals occasionally and have a laugh. And there is generally someone from church there to talk to if no-one else.
Gym: Again, not everyone knows my name but we all know each other. Those that have been there a while know that I’m the guy who lost a lot of weight. If they haven’t, then I’m one of the intense regulars. I’ll generally try to say hi to newcomers - gyms can be a bit intimidating, and a friendly face and a smile helps. There is a group of us who do the really intense circuit classes, and we all exchange pleasantries when we see each other at the gym or the pub or round the village.
Funny connection - we went to the pub one saturday with my stepson and his girlfriend. They were both living in London and working near Fleet. At the pub that night were a young couple from the gym I saw pretty regularly - she was in her early 20’s, distinctive because she had braces. I nodded hello to them, and settled in to enjoy the evening. Then I heard my stepson conferring with his girlfriend, and they went over to talk to the lass - she worked in the same building as them, 40 miles away.
Incredible co-incidence - we moved to the UK in 2001, and signed on to the local doctors surgery (as you do). They said that they had a NZ doctor, and we would be assigned to her. A few days later, my wife went to see her. She walked in, and had a sense of Deja Vu - she really felt that she knew this woman. After a few minutes of conversation, they realised that my wifes mother had worked as a practice nurse for this doctor back in Hamilton.
I guess part of this is living in a smallish village - you do see people regularly through school, at the shops, at social events. But part of it is being open enough to share your life - that takes more effort and risk, and belonging to a church family is a safe-ish place for that to happen. But it does work. For us, it meant getting a helping hand when we were setting up a home having moved from New Zealand: we were given a sofa, dining table, washing machine, lawn mower and other things from people in the church, which was a huge help. Most of those things have now been passed on to others, and we will help out newcomers where we can.
They all know me at my spa.
They don’t know my name but know me on sight at a local pancake house.
I do (or at least I did) tend to camp out in places for hours, particularly if they have free soda refills. Made for good places to write, and the staffs tended to like me. There’s a local bagel place that springs to mind, as well as a TexMex place. It got to the point where they comped my drinks. Always a good sign.
There’s a Thai place around the corner where I used to go 2-3 times a week, always getting the same thing. My coworkers took me there for my anniversary a few weeks ago. When the waiter came around, I just looked at him and nodded, whereupon he wrote down my usual. My peeps were rather impressed.
My local Starbucks. Just the weekday, AM crew. Everyone else are total strangers to me.
The morning waitresses at the place I get breakfast a couple times a week.
My gym, probably half of the staff knows me by name. The other members that are there the same times I am – mostly not with only a few exceptions. But those people and I are on nodding and waving familiarity.
The Buffalo Wild Wings I go to. Yeah, a cheesy franchise, but it’s loaded with TV’s, has snacky food, cold beer and a very friendly staff. What’s a guy with ADHD supposed to do, concentrate on one thing at a time? Pretty much the whole gang there knows me, I’ve got a half dozen e-mail and phone numbers. I having my birthday party there in December- the deal where 20% of food purchases go to a charity - and a couple people have already said they asked for the night off so they can be guests, not worker bees. A couple weeks ago, one of the servers was training a new person and stopped to introduce me - like I was part of the tour.