"Where Everybody Knows Your Name": Your locals, haunts, etc.

As one of six non-Chinese in a town of a million or so people, every place I visit twice remembers me. When I "meet’ new people, they can usually give an accurate rundown of every time they’ve ever seen me around town (“I know you, I saw you buying underwear last February! You were wearing a red shirt!”) So I’ve got quite a few regular haunts.

I go pretty often to a Chinese BBQ place down the street. By now I know the family pretty well. I’ve got a restaurant near school where I go pretty often and they know my favorite dishes. A few of the street food vendors and fruit vendors can greet me by name. And downtown there is an outdoor restaurant by the river that I end up at a few times a week.

I can’t wait to get someplace where everybody doesn’t notice me, and doesn’t know me!

She ain’t exaggerating, folks. In Bangkok, you’re pretty anonymous, but when I lived in northern Thailand, it was amazing to keep meeting people who told me exactly where I was, what I was doing and what I was wearing weeks before.

Was that the Blue Comet in Glenside (or something like that), PA? It’s closed? Damn. I don’t live anywhere near there, but I made the trip out there a few times to see rockabilly bands I like. Nice joint.

I’ve got a local dive I love. Not so local anymore since I moved to another neighborhood, but I still make the trip back once in a while. Nice dive in an out-of-the way location in Queens (NYC). Looks kind of scary from the outside, and even from the inside, if you’ve never been in there before, but it’s not. Nice crowd, pretty much anyone is welcome, from freaks to ex-cons to old guys. Maybe not hipsters, not so much. Great joint. I can’t imagine it ever changing.

I don’t live in a big city, so it is easy to have places turn into regular haunts.

The reggae clubs definitely know me. I have been going to all of Rochester’s reggae/dancehall events since I was 14.

There is a mexican place (actually, two, but I wish it was only one, because it feels more authentic to me that way) called Monte Alban. I am such a regular there that it really does feel like home. Likewise for a diner called Gitsis…best haddock in the world, too.

Funnily enough, I really do thrill to trying new foods and places. I do it all the time. But I always come back home.

Not anymore. I used to have a not-so-local pub that was my home away from home. I closed the place the day they opened, had my name on the wall in at least three different locations*, and was the pub’s designated Santa every Christmas. Alas, one of the owners fucked a “female-not-his-wife”(who was the daughter of his partner) on the tables one night, and the place closed.

*100 Club (100 different beers purchased)

  • Hogshead Club (100 of the same beer purchased)
  • Hall of Fame (500 of the same beer purchased**)

** Sierra Nevada Pale, if you must know.

At The Yokohama Japanese Restaurant and sushi bar in Fort Myers, I am well-known as “Chibby-San.” They know what I drink, how I like it made, and the 4-5 rolls that I prefer. Some of the other customers even know me.

Thanks, all, very interesting. Seems like a common refrain is that having kids pretty much ruins your ability to maintain a local!

I head to a neighborhood bar that feels like home. When I walk in, the bartender welcomes me and pours a small pitcher of my ‘usual’. Then she asks me if I want my football pool sheet for Sunday. I am friends with a few of the regulars. Great place.

I found it when my first regular bar closed down. The owner just wasn’t up for it anymore and sold the liquor license. I scouted out a few bars for me happy hour group and ended up here.

No really crazy stories. One of the bar friends regularly hits on one of my work friends which still drives her crazy. A couple of guys know that I follow the Cleveland Indians and spent the last few months of the baseball season thanking me for sending over Cliff Lee. A swinger couple tried to seduce two of my friends over for a tryst which was more bizarre that anything else. This isn’t really the place you go to if you want to get laid.

If nothing else, the place became a lifeline for me after I lost my job. I got back the social interaction that I had lost. And I got to feel like a regular guy again discussing sports or politics over a beer rather than some sad sack at home crying because I was unemployed.

My local Goth club is like this.

The Saloon on U Street NW, Washington DC. I’d gone there a few times before I got married the first time around; after the divorce I dropped in and the bartender immediately greeted me with “Where the hell have you been?!” Drew a comic about them once and they put my name on the wall in return. No TVs, music at a discreet but audible volume, excellent selection of beers (including Urbock 23 on tap). Towards the end of my stay in DC the owner would give me beer tasting lessons using the stuff he was thinking of putting on rotation. I knew the staff very well (there were only two of them besides the owner).

Yeah, I miss that place.

Yep, that’s the one. It closed a while ago, but reopened as a shell of its former self. I heard for a while they lost their liquor license and were BYOB. I haven’t been back since the reopen, but my friends who have been say it’s not the same.