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Bars came into popularity when prohibition was repealed.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.

    Today's liberated woman can safely participate in the social intercourse of bar bars.

  • Bar bars are required to have at least one pool table.

  • Saloons only had pool tables in case the bad guys needed a cue stick over Roy Rogers' head.

  • Bar bars only serve beer in long necks.

  • Like Tatooine and saloons, bar bars consider bullet holes in the ceiling to be correct décor.

  • All bar bars are required to have a ratio of three-to-one Dee-troit pick-ups over BMW's.

  • Bar bars all have swinging stools, never the rigid sort.

  • Juke boxes in bar bars are democratic, offering a little country, lots of Top 40, usually the Andrews Sisters, Elvis and Tony Bennett.

  • Bar bars are required to have at least one black velvet painting of Elvis Presley, or Jesus Christ who glows in the dark.

  • Designer jeans in bar bars have the J.C. Penney Co. label.

  • Bar bars have one screen door hanging on at least one hinge.

  • Bar bars don't have a menu, unless it is the sandwich list with a backlighted Coca-cola sign.

  • Bar bars don't serve Coke. (The sign was left by the last bankrupt owner.)

  • Real bar bars sell Dixie beer when someone asks for an import.

  • People asking for a light beer in a bar bar are asked not to come back.

  • Bar bars don't give away peanuts.

  • Bar bars don't have valet parking.


  • The National Enquirer is found in bar bars.

  • Bar bar bartenders don't wear earrings.

  • Bar bar bartenders chew, never light, Marsh Wheeling stogies.

  • Bar bar bartenders always have MOTHER tattooed on one bicep and the U.S. Marine emblem on the other.

  • The bruiser sitting next to all bar bar entrances, always in civvies, is an off-duty SWAT team marksman.

  • Bar bars keep bowling trophies under glass.

  • Nine a.m. drinkers in bar bars think Ronald Reagan still makes movies.

  • Eight a.m. drinkers in bar bars still think Richard Nixon is president.

  • Wooden toothpicks are the only utensils in bar bars.

  • George Wallace is a hero in bar bars.

  • There are no SUPPORT ERA signs in bar bars.

  • The only floral display in bar bars is Four Roses.

  • A mixed drink in a bar bar is called a boilermaker.

  • The word cocktail is never used in a bar bar.

  • In a real bar bar men drink with men and the women wear leather aprons.

  • English Leather and Crisco are popular fragrances in bar bars. Gunpowder is favored in Tatooine.

  • The left sleeve, provided it is flannel, is a favored napkin in a bar bar.

  • Radios on backbars of bar bars were made by Philco; all bar bar television shows are cabled in from ESPN.

  • Wet t-shirt contests have now replaced mud rassling in bar bars.

  • The only financial research done in bar bars is to select the daily number.

  • Formal attire in a bar bar is a t-shirt inscribed: AJAX PLMB & HTNG.

    After all this research, it is my considered opinion that only Cleveland would license Tatooine.

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.

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