Locals Only

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There’s a bar not far from me that I’ve been wanting to visit since I arrived. One reason is that it’s close by- less than half a mile from my house. And it’s actually set inside a rather nice looking-house- though apparently no one lives above the bar anymore. But mostly, I wanted to check it out because it has the same name as my late corgi (seen in this picture by Bruce Jaffe).

Perhaps rather predictably, those three reasons weren’t good enough. When I showed up, I was the fourth person at the bar. The other three were clearly friends of the bartender. I was meeting a friend who has lived on the North Fork several years and actually knew one of the proprietors. I asked for a glass of North Fork wine and the bartender replied, “We don’t serve that here.”  He produced a jug of Woodbridge Pinot Grigio and offered me a taste. I guessed the bottle had been open somewhere between one  week and one year ago. “This is really more of a beer and shots bar,” my new friend said to me- though she was a wine drinker too. We both ordered Heineken.

My friend chatted up the bartender’s girlfriend, whom she knew. The girlfriend seemed quite friendly; she gave us a menu that was really more like a flyer. Thin-crust pizza was their specialty, a recipe passed down from the late proprietor, the great aunt of the bartender. Would it be possible to bring a good bottle of red wine – and pay a corkage- to pair with the pizza? I asked. The girlfriend shook her head. It would not. “People ask me if they can bring all kinds of stuff here- fancy liquor, imported beer, wine – even lemonade,” she said.

But I’d pay to bring a bottle, I said, not entirely sure why I was trying so hard. I didn’t even like the way the place smelled; why would I want to eat their pizza? She shook her head. A group of locals piled in for their game of darts. Beer drinkers all. The bartender put the Pinot Grigio away. under the bar,  where it would probably reside til the end of the year – or some (other) non-local walked through the door.

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