Prior to moving to my neighborhood in 2016, I started doing some research on local bars. I wanted to figure out which bar would be my local when I got to town. I had already done the research on schools, walkability, public transit and the other factors that would impact my quality of life, and a great bar is no different. I was fortunate to scout out the perfect spot before I arrived and it hasn’t disappointed.
I wanted to know when I got to my new neighborhood, if I would have a quality pub to call my own. A needed a place I could go and meet new people and start making friends in the area. I understand the importance of community and the roll it plays in my personal quality of life. When I know more people in my neighborhood, I feel a greater sense of belonging. I enjoy myself more and I am overall, much better off for it. It can be harder as an adult to get to know other people and make new friends. A pub plays a critical role in giving adults a chance to get to know one another and in-turn, strengthen community. The more friends I make in my town, the deeper my roots go. City leaders should understand how much roots matter to a community’s longterm health.
Community is a fabric and the more we interact in person, the stronger the weave grows. A quality pub has a tremendous role to play in strengthening that fabric. A good pub welcomes everyone from the neighborhood, whether alone or in groups. It’s not just a drinking experience, but a gathering experience. It’s a place for people to go, outside of work and their home, to have a chance to spend time with one another and strengthen those bonds.
The neighborhood pub has an important place in a community and places that lack one, suffer for it. So much of our focus has shifted to youth sports and the endeavors of our children that we seem to neglect the importance of adult socialization. It matters that adults get together, it matters so much. I believe we have all suffered as community members for the diminishment of the role the neighborhood bar plays in our lives. We need to get together and spend time with one another. Adults need to have a life outside of their jobs and homes. We need to get to know one another and experience the sense of being a part of something larger than ourselves.
We spend so much time isolated these days. Between driving, watching Netflix or scrolling through our feeds, we spend very little time interacting with one another in-person. It’s vital to our communities that we find time to spend with one another and give ourselves the opportunity to meet new people. A good bar should provide this atmosphere. A good neighborhood bar should foster conversation amongst patrons. You should always be able to drop in and strike up a conversation with someone. Corporate bars offer another place to drink in isolation, but real bars brings people together. It should have windows that allow people to see in, so they are encouraged to come in. It should play music and not the sound from a TV.
A good bar should host community events and be quirky because it’s not constrained by corporate standards. My bar hosts Crazy for Swayze Dayz every August and plays all of Patrick Swayze’s greatest hits. The night crescendos with a kickass fight scene from Roadhouse.
I grew up going to the local bar with my dad. I recall all the smell of popcorn and Coors fondly. I may have heard some things I shouldn’t have, but this also plays a part. I remember it being a welcoming place where he got to catch up with his friends and discuss things that mattered to him. That bar played an important part in his personal life and in our community. The friends he made there helped shape his life and in turn shaped mine. I only ever knew my father in the context of home life, so having the chance to see him out with his friends provided me with a new way to get to know him and understand what his community was like. These guys weren’t going to get together at someones house to hang out and thank god there was no Applebee’s back then, but they weren’t going to go to a damn Applebee’s either. The Chateau was my dad’s place and it was a real bar where he could always pop in and count on finding someone to talk to. Like so many neighbored bars, it’s gone now and has been replaced with something meaningless.
Neighborhood pubs have an important place in our communities and we must support them, protect them and open more of them. As they get replaced with bullshit sports-bars, and soulless national chains, we lose that hub of community activity and connection. The fabric of our community gets weaker as the threads connecting us become fewer. I am lucky to have found my corner pub and am very thankful the role it plays in my life. My wife and I walk down for trivia once a week, my book club meets there once a month and I try to drop in whenever time allows. My local has afforded me the opportunity to meet so many of my fellow community members. It has provided me with countless laughs and fascinating conversations. So many ideas for improving our town or new ideas for my business have sprung from unexpected interactions at the pub. My pub makes my life better and makes me a better community member. When we make the conscientious effort to leave home and spend time, face to face, with people we share a town with, we are all better off for it.
So stop drinking in your basement, skip the national chain and ignore the obnoxious sports bar. Find a locally owned bar and hope that it has less than 5 televisions. Go alone or grab some friends, but make it a point to start drinking in your local bar. Drink with pride, knowing that with each beer, you are improving your community. Cheers!
*Thank you very much for taking the time to read my blog, if you found the information useful, I do hope you will consider sharing it with your friends and colleagues.
– Jeff Siegler