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Monday, July 4, 2011

Post Midnight in Paris... the rest of the weekend

A few weeks ago I wrote in our local paper how there are zero good bars in town.  Several people responded (probably family/owners) I should try the newly opened Red Dog Tavern located in the Madison Hotel.  My gripe with the bars in town is each has its own charm, but is lacking in something.  Together they all might make a super bar/restaurant.

Now, while I am not prepared to anoint the Red Dog as Madison's new bar leader; I will say it has potential.  The bar itself reminds me very much of my old favorite, the Par 4 Cafe in Wilkes-Barre, PA.  Anyone who knows me understands I am pretty simple.  The Par 4 was simple, understated, and exceptional.  It is where I met some of my closest friends.  It is where I laughed loudly and often.  And, for several years, it is where I pretended to know what I was doing behind the bar.  I never drank liquor and was inept at changing a keg.  That said, I relied on my gift for bs and tried to make it through each night without embarrassing myself or trusted employers.  For a time in the late 90s there wasn't a more happening place in Northeastern Pennsylvania.  I will forever remember those days as some of the best in my life.

I mention Par 4 because in many ways Red Dog reminded me of it.  The barkeep Doug, was an instant friend.  Within minutes we were discussing the merits of Sasha Grey and Bree Olsen.  He also pointed out a website, which had a healthy debate on which team (Yankees or Red Sox) had the hotter sideline reporter. My vote was cast for Whitney Port (Red Sox) over Kim Jones.  I knew within minutes he was a dreaded Mets fan and was perfectly fine with that.  This gave me a chance to tell him my hatred of the 86 Mets and how I would punch Ray Knight in the face if he walked in.  He lughed at my joke that he was sentenced to a life with Nancy Lopez so in a way I win.  I was outnumbered of course.  It figures my Astros were on display on their lovely 42" tv/mirrors.  Good of Htown to take a beating from Boston while I watched helplessly.  I had nothing but Mets and (GASP!!) Red Sox fans surrounding me.  Where did all these Red Sox fans come from???  And some of them were old too!!  Boy do I miss the days when they were everybody's punching bag.  Now a couple rings and these fans crawl out from their crypts.

Thankfully my wife offended some Mets fans when one asked who won the Yanks/Mets game earlier.

"We did" she said.

"Oh great, good the Mets won" the man replied.

"Oh, no, she said.  'We' means Yankees.  I didn't know there were still Mets fans" she shot back.

I hate the Yankees, sure.  But anytime a Mets fan gets put down I can't help but snicker.  I know, my team is the only one with under 30 wins.  I guess I should shut up.

Point is the bar, within an hour or two, was a familiar and welcome place.  I had nice, smooth Guinness from the tap.  The food, for me my bar barometer/standard (open faced turkey sandwich and mashed) was quite tasty.  And at the end of the night our bill was not overwhelming.  I have spent more and gotten less at several other places in town.

Does the crowd leave a little to be desired?  Probably.  Is it weird going to a hotel on the outskirts of town for a drink and meal?  Sure.  But given my other alternatives the Red Dog is a welcome addition.  I look forward to my next visit.

Other notes from the weekend:

Can MLB please start testing for robots?  Bartolo Colon cannot be the same pitcher I saw routinely give up home runs a few years back.  I keep hearing about experimental surgeries and HGH therapy or whatever he did in the offseason to find 10 mph more on his fastball.  Something is not right.  And as long as he is pitching and winning for the Yankees I demand a full investigation.

Also, why is it that older woman, and I mean like 70/80, feel compelled to dye their hair red?  And I don't mean subtle Bryce Howard red either.  I am talking obscure, bright, new Crayola color red.  It's weird and a little scary.

Finally, today is July 4th and we celebrate our Independence.  For me, I also celebrate my father's birthday.  As he never reads these ramblings and, as a man brought up in the 50s, will never have a sit down with me to share emotions, I will share my love nonetheless.

He has always been a source of inspiration.  His quick humor and "wisdom" are the foundation I have relied on for guidance year in and year out.  He has not been blessed with the greatest health, but rarely if ever, has he allowed that to deter his spirit and overall demeanor.  Positive, but always cautious, he continues to be my guide.  I can attribute much of what I have from him.  I will forever admire, and forever be indebted to him.

Happy Birthday America.  And Happy Birthday dad.  Many, many more please.

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