Monday, January 14, 2013

Long Term Relationship

I’ve sat on her patio at the corner of Lark Street and Madison Avenue, what seems like thousands of time. It really is the best people watching in the city. Tipsy hobos dancing to music blasting from a nearby car; mothers chasing after their broods— pushing strollers filled with everything but their toddlers. People wearing all sorts of clothes, some that should be worn and most that should not. Usually, I’m with friends, yapping away about work or telling some stupid story—something hoppy in hand, and our empty pint glasses stand guard on the black, wire table. My favorite is mid-summer when the days are long and warm. Sparrows flutter between tables and under chairs grabbing bits of popcorn that have fallen to the concrete slab below our feet while the conversations of the pubs al fresco patrons waft in the summer breeze. Sometimes I get there first; sometimes I’m the only one on the patio. I sit and sip, watching cars slow to a temporary stop at the light, and then roll off down the street. I’ll nod to someone walking through the entryway from the street to the patio. Sometimes they return from inside with a pint, and we’ll chat about sports or beer. Other times I’m left out there alone, just reading the paper and sipping on my beer.

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.

No comments:

Post a Comment