The Bar Belle
Beerologists bogart my job
“Hey, have you seen this blog?” my friend started in one day. Usually I just smile and nod her off. The girl is on the Internet more than not. “These girls are writing all about drinking and bars in Louisville. I think they’re trying to take your job!”
I quickly shook off the previous night’s Bourbon Barrel haze and reassessed the situation. Two girls, a blog and the Louisville market? A takeover was definitely in the air — I felt like George Clooney was about to rob my casino.
The first thing you do in a hostile situation is get to know thy enemy. So I moseyed on over to the blog — “Beer For All Occasions: An Experiment in Social Drinking.” Cute. They call themselves The Beerologists. A little long for my liking, but OK.
The Wordpress site has been active since December of 2008, and in that time, they’ve managed to review a few dozen bars throughout the Highlands and Germantown. They even ventured into Old Louisville to the Mag Bar, which they admit was their home base — the place where they spent too many nights and too much money, the place where the idea for this blog was born. The only clue to their identity was this description: “We are two women, each with a man’s name, who met over a man (not literally) and bonded over cigarettes. Turns out we’re both bent in the writing, drinking, smoking direction.”
The gauntlet had been thrown down; I was ready for a challenge. The next week or so I spent on research. Like Erin Brockovich in a library, I used my boobs to scour the city in search of a connection to my doppelgangers. These girls were good and managed to cover their crooked tracks. “They came in the night — swooped in, asked questions, then virtually disappeared,” one bar owner told me. I got plowed and plowed on.
Finally, one of my informants cracked. “Oh, you mean Alex and Wes? They’re friends of mine. Here’s their e-mail,” Miss Red divulged before I had to threaten her with a bout of Miller Chill waterboarding.
I had all the information I needed. The highball was in my court.
The first conversation was brief:
“Hey, bitches. I hear you want my gig! Let’s quarrel!”
“Who, us? Nah, we’re just bored of drinking at the same bar. We needed something to motivate us to explore all 376 bars Louisville has to offer.”
“Are you threatening me?”
“Slow down, Beavis. You are our hero. We’d love any advice or feedback you have to offer. Wanna hang out with us on our next bar review?”
“Umm, uhh, aw shucks. Sure! I really love you guys, too. Let’s be BFFs! Wanna exchange friendship flasks?”
The date was set, and they agreed to my terms. My goal was to get these girls out of their Highlands comfort zone. I wanted to take them somewhere they’ve never ventured — somewhere very few have ventured. Marmaduke’s, a Camp Taylor establishment just off Poplar Level most yuppies would write off as a hole-in-the-wall, appeared in my mind like a positive sign on your fifth drugstore pregnancy test. If I was going to help train these girls for their mission impossible, we were going to start the hard way.
I arrived first and cased the joint with a critical eye — after ordering a drink, of course. OK, two drinks — I was nervous. I grabbed a table near the front. Alex was the first to arrive — she had made her way to the bar first as well (bonus points) and had a can of Bud heavy in hand. “This place is cute,” she beamed as she took in the NASCAR décor. Wes arrived shortly after, pit-stopping at the bar before grabbing a seat — her drink of choice: a can of PBR.
Alex immediately pulled out a notebook and pen and began taking notes. “We have a checklist we go over at every bar,” she explained like she was cataloging a new species of fire ant. “I’m going to go chat with the bartender.”
First impression: These girls are serious. Not only do they take actual notes and have real criteria, they talk to the regulars. While my method of bar-reviewing is more hands-on (get drunk with the regulars and see if they catch you when you fall off your stool), I respect the academia they bring to the sport. Over the span of our two-hour binge, we laughed, we cried, we bonded over our battle scars. In the end, we became cohorts. We would have etched “Bar BFFs 4-eva” onto the bathroom door had it not been a shower curtain.