Thursday, March 08, 2012

real deep dive

there are dives and there a deep hole dives. i just passed this evening one of the latter kind of dives. i don't go to bars anymore. the late poet richard hugo published a lovely essay called 'you could love here' about one of his favorite bars in missoula, montana, and august kleinzahler wrote an essay about his favorite watering hole in the haight 'the zam zam room' in his essay collection cutty, one rock [fsg, 2004]. also bukowski and his acolytes made drinking look like an olympic event. so drinking and dive bars are nothing new in literature.

i am not so much a fan of bars but i am a lover of urban areas. especially the out-of-the-way places tucked into alleys and side streets. i love concrete and tall buildings; crowded streets and lots of traffic. i am a lover of cities. i can't help but peek into the windows of transient hotels as they are nestled right into the cities bustle. the coolest set of flats downtown are right off the k street mall and right across the street from the state capital, el cortez apartments, because they are quite literally smack dab in the middle of the city in a pedestrian-only abutment of shops and restaurants. i think el cortez is cool and i fantasize about spending my dotage in its midst.

now i was on 9th st between k street and l street and i walked past henry's bar. calling the bar a hole in the wall is as an accurate description as calling it a dive bar. it's not real authenticity, gritty realism, that makes this place appealing to me. after all, what is real authenticity anyway. you can get a real experience at disneyland as much as you can find the real on a piss-soaked bar stool swilling down whisky strong as acid burning away your liver. no; what i admired about the bar is because it is overlooked. i'm sure the place has some cachet with the hipster crowd where pabst beer is sold in draft for rock-bottom prices. but when i peeked into the bar it was occupied by a few barflies in a room that was timeless. the year could be any year. the decades pass and the century changes and still the place has probably barely changed.

not that i want to go drinking in it soon. maybe once or twice for the experience. really my bar hopping days are long, long past me. i am just glad that henry's bar still exists. a place where the dive is deep, the booze strong and where time breaks to the point of stillness.


At 4:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


all that's missing is
the piano and the string bass
behind you

--jim k

At 11:10 PM, Blogger richard lopez said...

muchos gracias, jim


Post a Comment

<< Home