Diaries Magazine

Writer Wednesdays: Andy Crouch: On Bars and Beer Gardens

Posted on the 09 May 2012 by Shawndrarussell

Writer Wednesdays: Andy Crouch: On Bars and Beer Gardens

Meet me at the pub--we'll solve all the world's problems.
Photo by bk images

I recently received my issue #63 of BeerAdvocate, and on page 12 found this fabulous article by Andy Crouch, which has led me to put Great American Craft Beer and The Good Beer Guide to New England on my to-read list. (Full disclosure: I have my first BeerAdvocate article in this issue. YAY!).
In his article, Andy talks about the decrease in bars for the sake of bars and an increase in gastropubs and other similar establishments that make you feel bad about not ordering food or just stopping in to have a drink, perhaps--gasp!--alone (lush! bum! mooch!). 

His musings made me think of The Tender Bar by J.R. Moehring. Sure, some of the people in this book were alcoholics, heavy gamblers, and screwed up. But good things happened in that bar--a sense of community, a bright spot for when you were troubled, and probably most of all, acceptance.
Pubs have long been a place were people congregate to talk, meet new people, and drink good beer. Yet, even in my city of Savannah, Georgia, obscure laws impede on a good time at some restaurants, where rumor has it once upon a time a cranky old neighbor didn't want unsavory types spilling into the streets near her home, so she got a law passed that people could not order alcohol unless they ordered food as well (Even more scandalous is that she got the law passed because she had some dirt on a politician). And Savannah is one of the more liberal cities when it comes to alcohol, allowing open containers while walking!
But the most noteworthy issue that Crouch's article brings up for me is that in a time when we lean on digital social networks more than ever, isn't getting out and rubbing elbows with neighbors and fellow citizens a good thing? Don't bars cause good cheer more than trouble? Isn't friendship strengthened over a few laughs, epic conversations, and shared experiences worth fostering?
I sure as heck think so. Long live plain ol', no food, dive-y, conversation havens...er, bars. 


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