Here is what I envision:
- Wood paneled walls, lined with built-in bookshelves.
- Deep red couches and chairs. Plenty of booths.
- Low lighting, but with an assortment of old lamps to read by.
- Menu full of drinks like Tequila Mockingbird and H.G. Wells (to be served during Happy Hour, of course), and such tantalizing food options as Moby Dick and Chips, and the Fight Club Sandwich.
- Background music consisting of Frank Sinatra, Sigur Ros, Dolly Parton, Van Morrison, Otis Redding, Gillian Welch, Run DMC, and anyone else we care to listen to, that is why we opened our own GD bar in the first place.
Books and booze have always gone well together. I mean, aside from driving or conversations with an ex, I think booze goes pretty good with most things. But Liquor and Literature–truly a match made in heaven. Or, if you’re Hemingway, hell. But he always struck me as a bit of an asshole anyway.
My point is this. Why are there no bars that whole-heartedly embrace literature into their culture? There are sports bars, and naked lady bars, and bars for musicians. There are bars for foodies (also known as restaurants) and bars for dancing. But I want to go to a bar and know, JUST KNOW, that I could strike up a conversation with the person sitting next to me about what a genius Margaret Atwood is. (She truly is. Stop reading this bullshit right now and go buy The Handmaid’s Tale. Now.) Or whether or not Jonathan Safran Foer and Nicole Krauss are pretentious. (My verdict? Who cares? Lots of people are pretentious. But lots of people aren’t able to make sadness beautiful.) Or what exactly the deal is with Daniel Steel. (Why is her hair so long? Does she really write those poems at the beginning of her novels? And how has she written so many books about people who were in love but then their daughter died in a mysterious car accident but then it was ok because they re-united through the power and beauty of horseback riding?)
I want to be able to buy a book and a beer at the same time! Maybe there are bars like this out there in the world. Probably New York has one. But poor, provincial little Seattle does not. The Pub at Third Place is close, and I highly recommend that you go there, particularly on the last Monday of every month, when they hold Science On Tap. It’s a wonderful, cozy place with great beers on tap and great food for amazingly little money. And there is a wondrous bookstore right up the stairs.
But people, I envision a world where you don’t have to go upstairs to get a book. A world where your favorite bar is a bookstore, and your favorite bookstore is a bar. Grandmaster Flash (chosen nick-name, not the group Grandmaster Flash, although that would be awesome and I would ditch nick-namey in a second for them) and I have a five year plan. Except that we made it a year and a half ago (when we still worked at Barnes & Noble and would discuss EVERY DAY how much better the job would be if we were DRUNK) so I guess now it is more like a three and a half year plan. Which means that, the DAY I get back from Africa, I better be ready to grab a damp towel and wipe down some tables, because The Local Branch should be open for business.
Will you come?