“The thing that I missed most was sliding up to a bar with a book and no plans in particular and ordering a pint.”
I’ve been getting out more.
A restaurant from time to time. A movie theater. Every now and then with a friend even. Imagine that.
It feels strange. Different. Like I just broke out of some kind of benevolent prison where you get to wear sweatpants and work on the can.
Nothing quite like a holding cell, but certainly a holding pattern.
With these newfound freedoms, I keep thinking back to that point in the pandemic when a large group of people south of the Mason-Dixon line proudly displayed their stupidity at the height of the virus by posting party pics from their insanely trashy poolside spreader across social media. While many people seemed to mostly be upset due to the disregard for fellow humans and community on display, there was also a group of folks who were actually jealous.
To each their own—I mean that, if you want to grind like you’re on spring break in Ft. Lauderdale in 1988, that’s totally rad for you—but I want none of that, pre, mid, or post-pandemic. On the contrary, the thing that I missed most was sliding up to a bar with a book and no plans in particular and ordering a pint. Or four.
I missed spots like Biddy Early’s, my favorite bar in Boston which I’m happy to report is thriving. I brought somebody who was visiting from out of town there last month, and they later told me they returned the following evening with another tourist to show them a real deal Boston hangout. I also want to shout out the Corner Tavern on Mass Ave and Marlborough Street, just a few smoots away from the bridge. I happened to walk by last week between stops at the clandestine Boston University alumnae pub and A.T. O Keeffe’s, which is doing a solid job filling the shitkickers left behind by McGreevy’s.
The three places I just named have different pedigrees, the whole of which make up the long story of hub pubs. The Corner Tavern has been in business under that name for more than a decade, and—I mean this in a complimentary way—barely changed a tap or menu item since its former life as the Last Drop. The BU pub, on the other hand, is exclusive, and was just re-done; we don’t really cover places that aren’t open to the public, but from VFW halls to formal university clubs on Comm Ave, you bet they are part of the bigger picture. And then there is O Keeffe’s, a new brand getting in on the tradition.
Let’s welcome and support them, along with every other independent establishment serving cold beer and warm fries.
CHRIS FARAONE, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
A Queens, NY native who came to New England in 2004 to earn his MA in journalism at Boston University, Chris Faraone is the editor and co-publisher of DigBoston and a co-founder of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. He has published several books including 99 Nights with the 99 Percent, and has written liner notes for hip-hop gods including Cypress Hill, Pete Rock, Nas, and various members of the Wu-Tang Clan.