Saturday, November 10, 2007

Barleyjuice - More Excellence

Last evening BARLEYJUICE played at the Maryland Irish Festival in Timonium.

"The Largest Celtic Festival In The US That Is Under One Roof" had free parking and $10 admission.

I thought the crowd was light but the threat of the season's first snow probably kept some people home and many more were probably waiting until today.

Barleyjuice's section was pretty full - many die-hard fans and a bunch from Philly. Their show, as I expected, was excellent. The songs from their new album were equally good and of course their signature song, "Whats Up Yours", has everyone cheering.

The more I hear this band the more I like them.

Saturday, November 3, 2007


Tomorrow I am going to sit down and watch football and contemplate the criteria I use to evaluate pubs and especially how I look at barmaids and staff.

Earlier today I stopped at a local watering hole.

Sat at the bar and ordered my beverage and the barmaid squinched up her face and uttered, "huh!??". No "excuse me" or "say that again" but a primal "huh!??".

A few minutes later some guys ask her about changing the lighting where they were going to sit and she again grunted her "huh!??".

Is it wrong that I expect a literate, interested barmaid or bartender?

Isn't tending bar a perfect example of a service job?

If I receive correspondence asking me to invest in an automated barmaid machine I swear I will send some money.

Do bar owners hire people and then give them absolutely ZERO guidance on how to treat people?

Do regulars tip well enough that she has no incentive to be decent to a non-regular? Aren't tips supposed to be a reward for good service?

This situation always bugs me and it never gets any better.

Friday, November 2, 2007

"Suds & Dregs"

I didn't grow up in Berks County. I was born and raised not too far away but it wasn't here.

When I first launched I soon learned of a legendary book by "Suds & Dregs", two school teachers in Reading who wrote a small book on local taprooms.

Someone even called me a "modern day reincarnation" of them or something to that effect.

Because their books were printed locally and in the pre-Amazon days - they aren't something you can just hop online and buy.

I found a copy for sale the historical society and bought it but misplaced it before I read it. Then I found it but didn't want to read the reviews for fear of tainting my thoughts.

Well, I sat down the other day and read it from cover to cover. Holy cow!! My thoughts on bars are a LOT like theirs. So much in some cases that it may seem like I plagiarized. I did not.

One fact that struck me:

Reading city bars: 1975: 133 1988: 109

Berks County bars: 1975: 238 1988: "just over 200"

I will try to find out how many still remain in 2007.

I do know that VERY few of the named taverns ring a bell with me. They have either folded or been renamed.

Sadly, the book doesnt list exact street addresses for the bars they reviewed. This is one reason why I list exact addresses and try to post GPS coordinates.