Looking for a 35-year-old white male, approximately six feet, around 200 pounds, pale skin, salt-and-pepper hair? Look no further than the
This particular 35 year old (me) lives in this very area, which is known to some as South Philly, others as Queen Village, and for those who wish they were wealthier, Bella Vista. I live in and I like the area, but I have a question: Which friggin' bars am I supposed to go to?
To refine that question, where does a 35-year-old man -- too young for old bars and too old for young bars -- fit in this delightful area full of people from all walks of life? It's a question that has been burdening me for some time now, which serves as my excuse to frequent all of them a lot.
My immediate choices, within a half-mile walking distance are as follows, from the closest to the furthest: The Dive, The Royal Tavern, The Friendly Lounge, 12 Steps Down, a plethora of awful South Street bars, The New Wave, some mafia bars I already know I'm not allowed into, and then the millions of bars south of Washington Ave. like Ray's Happy Birthday Bar, The Pope, The Dolphin, etc..
As I mentioned, I have been to all of them. I've felt the stares at some places when I realize I'm the oldest one there. And I think back to when I was younger and going to bars for the first time and some old dude - who must have been 28 - showed up. What the hell is he doing here, I'd think. "What a loser."
Here he was in my bar, trying to hit on young chicks, flashing his money around, Mr. Dressed-Far-Too-Young-For-His-Age.
Today, I look down at my Vans, at my too-baggy jeans, at my button-up plaid shirt, and at my half sleeve of tattoos and think: Have I become what I once despised? Am I the loser now? I usually leave after just one Miller High Life, whilst everyone else around me is drinking a certain piss water that I will only refer to as Pretty Blue Rabbit.
I then decide to go to a less hip, older bar. Like a bar with regulars and old school friendly bartenders. Like Cheers. (See? I really am 35). But I get the same stares when I walk into bars full of regulars and old-school bartenders.
It's because these aren't just casual regulars. We're talking generational regulars. They were there with their dads when they were kids. And their dads went with their dads when they were kids.
So there I am, with my same clothing I had in the hipster bar. The jeans that were too baggy are now too skinny. My out-of-date shirt is now too hip. And my shoes...well, the patrons all think I look gay. I'm not gay, but they think I am, and they hate gays, so that means I'm now in danger of a neighborhood beating. In the spirit of self-preservation, I leave after only one Appletini.
So back to my question, where do I fit in? I want you, a fellow 35-year-old male reader, to tell me where the best bar is for me to go, where I still fit in, without being judged for what I'm wearing, how many tattoos I have or don't have, if I look gay or not, if have the right job, or too much or too little education. Where I mention the shower scene from Porky's and get high fives. Where I say a line from Star Wars and somebody chimes in with the next line. Where, when a young hipster walks in, we all stare at HIM and laugh at his ridiculous clothing. A place where, when some old coot walks in, we instantly feel better about ourselves for being younger and not as much of an alcoholic - at least yet.
If you know of such a place, let me know. Please.