Good-God, its nice to have a neighborhood bar that’s like your living room. Say what you want about the triteness of that ’80s television sitcom Cheers and the whole “where everybody knows your name” schitck but it’s fucking hella nice to just be able to walk in whenever with out worrying about what you’re wearing, who’s there or not, and know that the bartender not only knows you for real, but even has your phone number….and no, not like how your thinking! Get your mind out of the gutter! I’ve never been a bartender groupie.

I’m talking about shit like…

When baseball season hits Seattle and Mr. Rockstar and I go to a game with friends Mike & Sarah and Meg & Jim and Cory & Matt…and yes, Mike’s the bartender at my neighborhood bar. Or, I have a Girls’ Night Out with dinner at a nice restaurant and drinks & dancing at a club afterwards with five-to-eight other women friends…and yes, Michelle works at my neighborhood bar.

Or, when my wallet falls out of my handbag (it’s been known to do this more than once…I’m really bad about zipping that damn bag shut), or maybe I just forgot it on the bar, and I get a call at 1:00 am from my friend Sharon…who, yes, is the bartender…to let me know it’s behind the counter at the cash register and I can pick it up whenever. It’s safe. Yeah. That’s really cool.

We all need a place where, when you walk in, the bartender is happy to see you and, almost every time  you visit, gives you $5.00 to put music on the jukebox because she knows that, even if she isn’t familiar with all the music you’ll play, it’ll be something she will like and she’ll be asking you every few songs,”Who IS this? What song? Cool!” The Mecca Cafe, 2010. Photo by entOptic

A place where I can type this on my iPhone while sitting at the bar & nobody thinks I’m being antisocial because they know that in five seconds I’m more likely to be up & bopping about to some crazy tune I just put on the jukebox or that I’ll be fighting to get a word in edgewise with somebody sitting or standing next to me bending my ear.

This is my living room, damn it. And yes, I do use the TV remote here.

So, move over outta my seat, Sugar. It fits my ass bettah. 😉

© 2011 D. Kessler

Mention the term Happy Hour to just about any American and you won’t have to explain what that means.  It conjures up visions of frosty glasses of beer, a myriad of various cocktails and cheap food, usually appetizers.  It also brings to mind the huge sigh of relief that is the end of the work-day, sometimes an early end on Fridays, and hanging out with friends, acquaintances and even your neighborhood Officer Friendly, all in varying states of soberness, or rather, drunkenness.  It gives a nice warm glow to the deep emotional center of a person, usually erroneously attributed to the pumping organ known as the heart.  And no, no one ever drives home after Happy Hour…no, no, never.

However, just 75 years and one day ago, this haven of contentment could not legally exist.  Can you imagine getting off work, harrowed and worn out, and having to go home to…a glass of milk?  Or a lemonade?  A cup of coffee or tea?  I mean, come on!  What kind of reward is that?  Milk…gas.  Lemonade…acid reflux.  Coffee or tea…case of the jitters, irritability and possibly the digestive plagues already aforementioned.  What a raw deal!

Yep.  Thanks to the 18th Amendment to the Constitution of the US of A, enacted across the land in 1920, that lovely frosty beer whetting your whistle on a hot August evening after work, that gin and tonic or whiskey coke with your buddies at a friendly neighborhood establishment, served by a cynical or friendly Joe the Bartender, were not only scarce, but worse….illegal.  You might be able to risk a speakeasy in a remote alley later in the evening, but daylight hours, at the corner cafe?  Uh-uh.  No can do.  And definitely not with Officer Friendly…unless he was on the take.

December 5th, 1933 changed all that.  Bathtub gin…bye-bye.  Mob-run speakeasy…not so many and not so profitable anymore.  ‘Cause, by Jove!  FDR says it’s OK to have a beer, says it’s OK to toast your glass of scotch!  And when Utah finally…the last of 36 states…voted on the 21st Amendment to say OK too, that was it!  Over here in Seattle, the State of Washington had already ratified the new amendment back in October, and so eager were Seattle-ites to get the ball rolling and jump off that Wagon of Woe that the City Council already had an emergency ordinance drawn up just waiting for the Mayor to sign it…which he did immediately…and voila!  The Mecca Cafe on Queen Anne Hill/Uptown is purportedly the very first bar in Seattle to legally serve up a beer on that very day, December 5th, 1933!  At least, that’s how the history on the back of the menus used to tell it…and I say bully for them! 

So, today’s trite topic of “Thanks” goes like this:

Liberty's Torch is lighted once more today_1933 - courtesty Seattle Post-IntelligencerI’m thankful…so very thankful…for the 21st Amendment to the Constitution of  the United States of America.
And for the beverages, which now so freely flow.
One nation, now drunken, be they morose or happy,
Enjoying tranquility and Sodden Debauchery for all.

And now, off to The Mecca, such a short stone’s throw from my abode, in celebration!

*holding invisible glass high*

Slainte! Salude! Cheers!


© 2008 D. Kessler