I’m there, as well, when the cold northeast winds rise in autumn, and the nights become longer. I make my afternoon pilgrimage, winding my way through Albany’s old streets from work to the pub, greeted daily by a scarecrow of a man, as I walk through the front door. He’s ubiquitously perched in corner near the front windows drinking an aluminum bottle of Bud Lite. With the patio closed for the season, I settle in on one of the stools that line the bar. Never at the tables that line the back wall, or back by the dart boards in the rear room of the building. Always on one of the three or four stools that sit between the bar top's two tap towers. Even with her bevy of taps laid out before me, I turn my head to read the board—chalked with her latest offerings—three-dollar pints during her three o’clock to seven o’clock happy hour, with the occasional bump in price for rarity or strength.
In the summer she’s open and airy—her sliding front windows yawning—letting the bustle street come right up to the bar. In the winter—when the afternoon melts into evening—she’s comforting and warm. Her lamps throwing amber light over dark wood, emulating the palette of the beers she serves. Simply put, she is friendly, and you are a friend the moment to walk through her door.
She is the Lionheart.