Not being a habitué of bars, I've had to refer to a
specialist for this sociological study involving our
collective drinking procedures.
Public drinking changes. Growing up, I paid dimes for my first lessons in public consumption. That was what it cost to see a Saturday movie with Tom Mix beating up lots of bad people in places called saloons. The great climax came when Tom delivered his final blow to the chin of the meanest guy who always flew backward through a window and into the dusty street.
Saloons never served anything that didn't come in clear white bottles. I always wondered what would have happened if a customer had asked for ice. Saloons always had at least one card game over in a corner, usually out of the line of fire.
Bars came into popularity when prohibition was repealed.
Just plain bars seemed to be adjuncts to restaurants, possibly a concession to blue noses who didn't want to repeal in the first place. Almost every state has laws requiring bars to have some degree of attention given to food. Theory is that any intake of foodstuffs will absorb some of the alcohol. Pickled eggs, beef jerky and potato chips give legality to lots of bars. Laws make no reference to the quality of what is served.
For a couple of generations we've had bars used in finer restaurants as holding pens for those awaiting a table.
My last study of drinking locales came from Star Wars. I always wanted to do a serious pathomorphology study of the patronage hanging over the bar in Tatooine. Remember all those long, tall hot ones with steam wafting upward?
Even Tatooine had a card game over in a corner, out of ray gun field of fire.
Now comes my latest drinking intelligence. A gentle lady, whose professional life has graduated from the Boone's Farm era, tells me about what she calls bar bars.
Doral Chenoweth composed this column as the Grumpy Gourmet for The Columbus Dispatch and considers his patron saints to be W.C. Fields and Richard Burton.
This column is so dedicated.