Okay, this is cheating because I’m interpreting “evening light” as “the bar up the street from me lit up for the evening.” But it lets me tell a story about why I swear allegiance to this place.
Not that I’m that much of a barfly, honestly. I think the most “regular” I ever got was once a week, when I was recovering from a broken foot and I marked off the weeks until I was healed by hobbling there for a glass of wine during Happy Hour. (I also broke my foot in here, but that was my fault – all I will say is, if you’re ever at a party and someone starts a kick line to the song Come On Eileen, don’t join in.)
But it’s only one block up the street from me, and has good food and a lively staff, and the owners known me and it is thus good for spontaneous jaunts out of the house and brunches.
And also for nasty shocks.
…So, like most people, I have an ex-boyfriend who is kind of “the one who got away”. We actually met in this neighborhood – at another bar nearby, which has since closed – and we were well and truly head over heels for each other. Most of the time. But after nearly a year – for reasons only he will ever know for sure – he cut things off with me. Soon afterward he met someone else and moved out of state with her.
I tried to stay friends on Facebook with him, and it took me a few years to catch on to the fact that this probably wasn’t great for me. But after a couple years I was pretty much over him, so I thought it was okay and I could handle it. It still came as a shock, though, when I got home from work after an utterly lousy day, got online to lose myself in mindless websurfing, and saw my ex’s Facebook status that he was in New York City – so he could get married, that day, in a courthouse in Queens.
I read that status a couple times, turned my computer off and grabbed my wallet and proceeded immediately to Putnam’s.
The bar was about half-full at that point, and I got a seat on one of the empty stools. When the smiling bartender asked what I wanted, I told her everything, and then asked “what would you recommend for someone in my condition?” She clucked in sympathy and made me a Manhattan, in a big glass.
I’m not much of a whiskey drinker, so I was sipping it slowly – slowly enough that the bar filled up more, and I was still there when a man came in after getting off work himself and taking the seat next to me. We got to chatting – I threw myself into the chat more so than usual, trying to get my mind off things – and he was witty enough that I started having a good time. Good enough, in fact, that when I finished my drink and he’d finished his cider, we each ordered another round – another cider for him, and a cranberry juice and vodka for me. We didn’t trade numbers after, though, and two drinks were enough for each of us. But I was still happy that I’d cheered myself up, and that I wasn’t home pouting over my ex. Quietly proud of myself, I turned to the bartender and asked for my bill.
The bartender hesitated. “Okay, here’s the thing,” she said. “Your Manhattan was on the house, and I’m gonna make this guy pay for your second drink (you cool with that, dude? Good) because in my opinion, no one who got the news you got today should have to pay for their drinks. So…you’re set.”
And that is one of the reasons I have nicknamed this place “the best bar in the world”.