The news hit me right in the gut when I got word this morning, like a liter of Doppelbock after a night sucking down Miller Light. It made it so much harder to take, knowing it was Tuesday. It had only been a week, and until I found out, I had planned to go again tonight...like I did every Tuesday.
What's really striking is how suddenly it happened. Last week, I think, we had more fun than we had in a long time on a Tuesday. It was almost like I forgot about the rumors, I could ignore the problems, and everything was just great the way it was. I guess I saw the signs all along, I just couldn't bring myself to accept it ahead of time. And I always thought I would have some kind of real warning.
I guess it makes sense the beer selection this past couple of weeks was so slim.
Yes, if you didn't see Monday's State Journal business page (and I didn't, obviously, until today), my regular Tuesday night haunt the Angelic suddenly boarded up the windows, chained up the doors and (presumably) booby-trapped the beer garden this weekend. I had heard rumors over a year ago the establishment was in a bit of financial trouble, and granted, there was a period over the winter when the live band stopped playing and the crowds dwindled a little bit.
But as far as I could tell, things had really started to turn back around for the A-Club. Spring was busy, and then, amazingly, summer picked up business even more. Most of the downtown bars go into hibernation while the students are out of town, but the Angelic pulled in twice its springtime crowds the last few weeks before it closed up. They also trotted out not one, but two new live bands to cement their Tuesday night lineup, both of which I enjoyed immensely.
It was a long time coming. As much as I liked listening to Bob Westfall once a week (and I did!), a little musical fresh air did the place a lot of good.
But let's face it: what really kept me coming back -- what put me in that bar maybe four of every five Tuesdays out of the past year -- what I'm really going to miss...is the beer. The plentiful, myriad, high-caliber, ambrosial and moderately-priced selection of foreign delicacies and American micro-brews. The magic of Angelic Tuesday lay in walking through the front door and gazing upon the hanging signs, and with careful deliberation or arbitrary audacity, slapping down TWO DOLLARS and saying, "Give me a ______."
I'm not ashamed to admit there were evenings my two bucks were on the bar before I even knew how to pronounce what I was ordering. The hardest decision for me was always, "To be bold, or to fall back on my steady, all-time favorite, the Ale Asylum Gold Digger Blonde?"
So here I sit, coming up on ten o'clock on a Tuesday night, in front of my computer with no micro-brew in sight. I'm worried about what could happen to the Tuesday night crew. Sure, we could start a regular rendezvous at the Great Dane, but the beer would be too expensive, the crowd would be unfamiliar, the atmosphere would be too pretentious and there wouldn't be a cheesy waffle fry in sight.
Sad though it may seem, that bar was a part of me: a small, frivolous alcohol-soaked part, but it was a part of me. I have no claim to ownership, but I still thought of it as "my bar," or at least the favorite among "my bars." As a ficticious woman with huge hair once said, "I’ve dug myself into a happy little rut here and I’m not about to hoist myself out of it."
Except it doesn't seem we have much of a choice. So I propose the Tuesday regulars and any other fans of the Angelic rendezvous a week from tonight, 10:30 pm Tuesday July 15, at the Angelic's outdoor beer garden. If everybody brings a sixer, and we clear it with Fred Mohs (don't count him out!), we can throw a few back one last time at our favorite bar and look for closure at the bottom of a bottle. And in the midst of our soul-searching, maybe we'll find an answer to the question scorching my mind: where does a piece of heaven go when it dies?
After that, I guess it's time to start looking for a new Tuesday night hangout...or a new night to hang out. I'm always open to suggestions.