It Pays to Be a Regular

Earlier this year a study was conducted by psychologists who concluded that being a regular at a bar is good for your emotional health.  Today I think I became a statistic that would help support the claim.  After an afternoon at the gym I drove by a little tavern that I like to frequent when I fancy a brew…even though I knew it’d be closed. I knew so because it closes for three weeks every summer.  Nevertheless, something drew me to taking the long way home where I’d be sure to pass by.  To my chagrin, the metal gate was not down and there was life inside.  I parked up the block and strolled in to find the owner and three contractors – one of whom is a regular/drinking buddy – and boxes of empty beer bottles spread throughout the top of the bar.  I was so confused.  People were there, but it didn’t look open for business.  It looked like it was being prepped for cleaning.  I shake a few hands and I say, “What’s going on here?  I thought you were closed till next week.”  The owner, Gene, says “Nah, last week.  You want a beer?”  “Absolutely,” I replied, “and get one for John here on me.  I owe him one.”  Gene looked at me with an awkward smirk and said, “Nah I ain’t serving.  Go back there and get one.”

I was blown away for a second, but I asked no questions, nor had I any qualms with strolling to the back of the bar and helping myself to a pint.  However, when I reached for a pint glass John and Eugene both stopped me and told me I had to grab a bottle from the beer fridge.  Suddenly, it all began to add up.  Boxes of empty bottles; no lights on; flooring behind the bar that had just been torn off, and contractors with clip boards…They were closed.  John was there to work on the floors and the two other guys were giving Eugene an estimate on a new security system.  What’s more?  Two people walked had walked in before I arrived and while I was there, three more people came by and asked if they were back open.  Eugene told them all “No!”  I couldn’t believe it.  Why was I so lucky to be invited to join the pow wow and enjoy FREE beer.  I even tried to leave a few bucks on the bar, but John said, “Nah don’t worry about it.  Gene don’t care.”  That was fine with me, so I helped myself to a Heineken and chatted with John about his new floor plan that he’ll be installing while Gene was going over the numbers for the security system.  I felt overwhelmed with joy as if I was being treated like a partner in the business almost.  Sure, I’m a regular, but so are most of the patrons there.  I guess that means I’m special?

After the other guys left, John, Gene, and I sat down and talked local NY news – some of it tragic, but there wasn’t any reason to feel low spirited.  People say alcohol is a depressant, and, in fact, one of the things we talked about is how everybody handles alcohol differently.  Some folks get sad, some get silly, and some get violent. Fortunately all three of us had a strong enough constitution to handle all the refills that Gene insisted we take, but nothing bad came of it.  We were just guys being guys and truthfully, I don’t think it would have felt the same had we all been drinking coffee together.  After John went home, I helped Gene close up.  It was the least I could do considering all the generosity I received.  After his wife came to pick him up I thanked him for a perfect afternoon.  And to think I had only driven by on the chance that he might have changed his mind and reopened early.

My personal study reinforces the scientific opinion that being a bar regular can definitely enhance one’s self esteem. Why?  Because at the end of the day everybody wants to be some place they feel welcomed  and accepted.  You want to go where everybody rank Sinatra once said, “I knows your name.  So if you agree have a drink with me and don’t ever feel ashamed.  Frank Sinatra once said, “I feel sorry for people that don’t drink.  When they wake up in the morning that’s the best they’re going to feel all day.”  Cheers!

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