Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Riverside

December 2009 Issue

So I walk in to the Riverside Bar & Grill and order a whiskey...

The selection was a fine representation of mid-level "high-end" whiskies. I figured I've been drinking enough of the rotgut whiskies so I decided to splurge and get me a Glenfiddich. The barkeep was quite generous with the pour and the price was certainly reasonable.

The Riverside is one of those stylistically challenged bars. The d├ęcor, or rather lack thereof, is like a diner meeting a bar in a dark alley. The walls are adorned with beautiful beer ad banners and the floor is covered with the finest weave carpet. I've always thought that carpeting in a bar was an incredibly bad idea. You know, with the whole spilling drinks and people vomiting thing. Doesn't make for good eradication of odors.

What the Riverside bar lacks in style it makes up for with the diverse personality of its clientele. I went there on a Sunday night, a night when they feature live jazz. The band was a very talented group of musicians playing a great mix of old time jazz favorites. The age of the audience was a mix of 40+ hep cats strutting their stuff on the four foot by eight foot space that was kind of a dance floor and some 20-something gangbangers hanging out in the back playing pool.

That's right, I said gangbangers. Interesting mix, right? Your Moms and your Pops, maybe even your Grandmas and Grandpas, all hanging out with a bunch of gangsters listening to Jazz. I was thinking, This is going be fun!

Anybody who knows the barfly knows he loves a friendly game of pool. I ain't afraid of no gangstas, neither! I mean, I used to hang out with DMX and the Ruff Ryderz. So I stepped up to the table, gave everyone there a nod, laid some quarters down and waited for the games to begin.

When my turn comes up my opponent steps up to me and says: "It's five dollars a game Homes."

Being the wise ass that I am, I reply to him: "No it's not, it's only 75 cents a game."

He answers: "No Homes... We play for money on this table."

I guess he thought that my name was Sherlock "Homes". Anyway, I accepted his challenge as I was on my second drink and my confidence level was pretty high. After my second game-and being ten bucks up-my opponent started getting a little feisty and quite obnoxious. As I was trying to shoot he would lean up the table and talk shit-extremely rude and annoying behavior. So after beating him for the third time, I tell him I'm done and head back to the bar.

I was at the bar no more than two minutes when Mr. Sore Loser Grumpy Pants gets up in my face and says: "Sup Homes? Ain't chu gonna give me a chance to win my money back?"

I replied: "If I'm not mistaken, after I beat you the first time I gave you two chances to win your money back that you didn't take advantage of."

Luckily the guys I had come to the bar with stepped in at that point and diffused the situation before it could escalate into what, most likely, would have been a fisticuffs outcome. I was then able to enjoy the rest of the evening, some good scotch and jazz, in peace.

I heard that there was recently a stabbing at the Riverside. I wonder if it was over a game of pool.


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