"Where the eff are we?" I question.
"We're outside of Elyria," smartly replies my buddy.
"I know THAT, but... what IS this place? Is this A place?"
"I have no idea. There's a burned out sign."
We both look up and scratch our heads at the nameless bar sign. Yes, it was just a sign that read "Bar." "Why did they just call it 'Bar'?" I replied. "Despite its originality, they're telling us exactly what it is and you can't hate something that gets to the point"
This discovery of Bar occurred while we were driving back from a crappy stand-up gig in Sandusky. We were hungry and lost and had never been to this location before. We would have kept looking for somewhere else, but this had the potential to be a great 'Adventures in Argyle' article for my weekly column. So, Bar it is!
With townie wariness weighing down on my shoulders, I cautiously walked into Bar with a sense of caution. A long thin strip of bar and mini booths awaited me, as well as eight to ten male specimens who all turned and stared as we walked in. One thing was for certain, we were in the middle of a redneck sausage fest. One guy was wearing a t-shirt that said, "Southern Boys; Dirty Toys" with a photo of a jacked-up Chevy pick-up truck. That's when I knew wasn't going to get any compliments on my argyle sweater vest that screamed, "Punch me in the face!"
My friend and I bellied up to the bar like we've been coming to Bar for years. Reading the room quickly, I partook in one of the 22 oz. PBRs for $3. I thought maybe this would put the townie onlookers at ease, letting them know "we come in peace and we're just like you, but with teeth."
Aside from the sound of a crappy fan mixed with one TV at full volume airing a fishing show, I felt the space was a bit tight for comfort. The bartender, who resembled an older and more pregnant Kathy Bates, was nice for about a minute, then had an attitude for the rest of the evening after I asked for a dollar for their broken Touch Tunes machine. I try not to judge and I understand people have their bad days, but all I was trying to do was liven up the place with a little Justin Timberlake. I thought maybe if I were blaring "I'm Bringing Sexy Back" the patrons at Bar would just feel the groove and forget about our worries. Then I thought, hell, maybe we can make the world's last Harlem Shake video in a place where they still probably use a dial-up connection. No such luck -- the machine was broken so it was the audio from the fishing show that was filling the air on that night.
I found myself at one-point heading to their restroom that was conveniently located down a flight of stairs to a basement that was perfect for hiding a body.
What the restroom lacked in sanitary measures it made up for in character. My favorite part was if you chose to do a number two, you can find yourself being watched the whole time because there were no stall doors or walls, just a toilet and the open bathroom for everyone to see you drop anchor. For some reason, they thought it'd be clever to mount a large mirror on the wall behind the commode. That's perfect, because who doesn't want to watch themselves piss?
Fortunately, I'd never eaten there before and I ordered a buffalo chicken wrap. What came out, however, posing as a buffalo chicken wrap resembled more of a Hungry Man frozen meal. The advertised "wrap" was actually served in a "bun." Is this the brain-child of the next up and coming Michael Symon? Did I just discover him at a place called Bar in the middle of "Where the Fuck Are We?"
Being a pseudo environmentalist, I wasn't too thrilled when the establishment ran out of pint glasses at around 10 p.m. and began handing out plastic disposable cups in their place. How does a bar called Bar run out of pint glasses when there is only ten people bellying up? Then I noticed the bartender on duty was in a heated game of Keno. Who was going to interrupt her playing Keno to wash pint glasses? It's not her fault a bar back wasn't scheduled on this high volume night of ten people. Keno wasn't going to play itself and she knew that.
To say the least, I wasn't too impressed with my experience at Bar and I really did give it a chance. I don't mind these types of bars and situations and I will say this, the bar's saving grace was they had an actual "Space Invaders" game console that took quarters. I felt like a kid again playing Space Invaders while my mom was over in the corner of the bar that she worked at, making out with a guy that resembled a young Michael Stanley or young Sylvester Stallone from Nighthawks.
We left Bar successfully without a Roadhouse-type bar-fight breaking out, so the adventure in my opinion was a full success. Not sure If I'll return to Bar or even recommend it to anyone, but I do know one thing: If the cook that made me the wrap and served it on a bun becomes "America's Next Top Chef," I want full credit that I am the one that discovered him.
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