September 20, 2012

The process here at is that I usually organize the meetings ahead of time. My job on the night of the event is to (a) drink good beer, (b) take pictures, and (c) take reasonably legible notes for later transcription. Occasionally, usually during the summer, I can turn around a recap in a day or two. During the school year, that gets increasingly harder to prioritize. The end result is that I sometimes get to recapping the night several months later (as I am doing here). Occasionally, there are surprises.

For example, I had completely forgotten until I reread my notes that I met Dan and David at The Blind Tiger at the start of the night. You have to picture 7th Ave South and Bleecker Street—in the heart of Greenwich Village—on a warm and humid September night. NYU is back in session after a hot summer and the students are dying to get into the bars and reconnect with their friends.

As you might imagine given these factors, the Blind Tiger was (predictably) overcrowded, nearly to the point of being dangerous. And being fully-grown dads (some of us more fully-grown than others), this made for a predictably uncomfortable experience. After I had a sip of someone's Sierra Nevada Audition Off Kilter Scotch Ale, we hatched a plan to go next to Amity Hall. The Off Kilter was terrific, by the way—an 8.6% Wee-Heavy monster!

Amity Hall is a favorite haunt of Dan's and I confess to many a happy night here enjoying their generally fine tap selections. This was not one of those nights.

Our draft, a delicious Founder's Porter, was served in 12 oz. plastic cups—Seriously?!? PLASTIC?!? Despite the smaller crowds, we stayed for one restless beer and soon found ourselves wandering aimlesslessly through the streets of the Village until we stumbled upon the Back Fence.

The "Fence" is a veritable institution in the Village. A simple dive with red checkered tablecloths, cheap beer and live acoustic music. If your expectations are low, they are sure to be met. The Back Fence did not disappoint.

I had three 12 oz. (glass!) mugs of Blue Moon, followed by two mugs of Murphy's Irish Stout. This produced the desired effect. the musician was competent, which is to say, not very interesting. Unless you are either (a) a compelling songwriter with strong imagery and lyrics full of drama and pathos, or (b) a lively performer who engages the audience and entertains, you are just musical wallpaper in a joint like this. As a musician, I feel bad for these people. I realize it's part of paying one's dues, but let's face it, not everyone has something to offer as an artist. The beer, however, was helping, and at least we were a polite group.

The Back Fence
155 Bleecker Street,
New York, NY 10012
(212) 475-9221

Draft porter in a plastic cup—Seriously, Amity?

Swingin' Dan and P at the "Fence"


One of Satan's minions entertaining

Finally, a good draft!

If DNO had existed back in the days of the Cæsars, no doubt the motto of patres would have been Brevis ipsa vita est. Bibendum cervisiam quod bonum est. ("Life is short. Drink good beer.") The night certainly held its share of ennui and restlessness. We opted to move again in hopes of finding one last reliable brew. The logical move was to slink over to the Peculier Pub, a quiet brewporium smack in the middle of the Bleecker Street nuttiness, with a incredibly decent selection of foreign and domestic craft beers on tap.

I finished up with a Dogfish Head Pumpkin Ale that knocked my socks off! Great to have great beer, of course, but what made our quest complete was the combination of beer quality, lack of crowd, friendly service, and a slica vessel. Finally, a real pint in a real pint glass! We entertained ourselves with the young barmaid, Kristen, who was engaged and looking to us (if you can imagine this) for wedding advice. All and all a sweet DNO in which we triumphed once again in achieving beervana.