I Love This Bar

I love a good bar!

Tavern, pub, lounge, or dive, however you want to call it; as long as the seats are comfortable, the music ain’t too loud and the pours are long and strong, I’m one happy camper. Aside from my kitchen, a good bar is one of the few places where my shoulders fall away from my ears, my heartbeat slows, and I am completely at ease.

Of course, not all bars work this magic. The winners are those with an air of welcome when you arrive and surroundings that say, “Come on in and relax. What’ll it be?”

Bars are living things as varied as the patrons who walk through the door. The first bars weren’t really bars at all but resting houses for weary travelers and pilgrims. Inns, public houses (pubs), and tabernaes began sprouting up as places for travelers to rest along ancient roads. This makes total sense to me.

As a weary traveler myself hoofin’ it around the globe, the local tavern was always one of my first stops in a new destination. I could find people of like mind sitting on stools or at a nearby table with a map spread out between them. There might be a backpack or two leaning up against the wall and a hearty soup on the menu with a basket of bread. Passports were proof of age and the stamps were proof of experience. It never took long to find a friend, get some advice on the local scene and share a story or two. The only common bond… the joint you were sitting in.

Many of my best and worst memories took place in bars. I got my first job cooking at the Yacht Haven Bar & Grill in St. Thomas. I broke my wrist at a mid-evil tavern in Palma de Majorca by falling off a bar stool. I discovered the extent of human kindness in a pub in South Haven in the UK. I had my first goat cheese tart and Pinot Noir at a Lounge in Antibes and listened to Gregorian Chants with my hubby while the skies opened up outside Napoleon House in New Orleans. I pulled beers and poured endless glasses of Claret for a WWI veteran in London, met a pack of wandering Aussies at the Club House in Lilongwe and bid tearful farewells to some of my most dear friends at the Raffle’s Writer’s Bar in Singapore.

Surprisingly enough, of all these places, my favorite watering hole is right here in Arizona… the Pub at Thunderbird, the School for Global Management. My husband spent 18 months getting his MBA at the school located on an old Air Force base, and I hung out at the bar.

Back in the day, the Pub was run by the students and boy did we have a good time with that set up! There was a juke-box with a great selection of tunes, two pool tables in the back where a rhinoceros head stuck out of the wall and all sorts of clothing hung from his horn. Not to mention that the students are from all over the world and conversed in every possible language. It was like every traveler’s bar, tavern or pub I have been to dropped into one singular place. We shared stories, showed off our passport stamps and talked about where in the world we might be next. The beauty of all of this is that we now have good friends all over this world – the ones we met right there at Thunderbird Pub. 

My husband and I ended up in Dallas then moved to Chicago and from there returned to Glendale and the Pub. Then we took off to Singapore for a few years, traveled throughout Asia and the Pacific, and ended up right back here near my favorite watering hole.

We stop in every now and again for a cold beer and a game of pool. The names are different but the faces are the same and the pictures on the wall bring our friends back in full color. The students look at us funny at first and try to strike up serious conversations, but after a few beers, we are right back in our groove.

That’s what a good bar can do. Did you ever think it could be all that?  Of course, you did.

Live Well, Eat Well

Heidi