Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Bar Hopping... Literally

Once upon a time, I was a teenager. This might be hard to believe since I am so very mature and worldly-wise, but I was young, naive and stupid in love. My first love took my heart, flushed it down the toilet like an unwelcome insect and when it came out the other side, it was broken into a million pieces scattered all over my front lawn. Now I'm a strong gal, so I was able to pick up said pieces and move on to live a happy and normal life. Young'ins are so resilient.

When I moved here I learned that my ex, let's call him Ben, cause that's not his name, was living with my friend's friend from High School in LA. After 4 years of not speaking, Ben AIM'ed me. Remember that? The last time we spoke he was extremely unpleasant and mean, but now he asked normal questions like- Do you remember me? How was college? Am I the devil? Oh, wait. He told me to stop by the bar where he worked-Coach and Horses, on Sunset, and get a drink. Sure, I said. Never in a million years, I thought.


Fast forward to Dive Bar Month a few years later! I was told Coach and Horses was a great dive bar by many people when I surveyed places for this month. A few nights ago, a new friend said it was his favorite bar in LA. As I was walking down the street after leaving my friend, a stranger approached me. I thought he was going to ask for money or possibly attack me. Instead, he said, "Please help me, I lost my GPS and I just need to know where Coach and Horses is." OK Universe, I will go to the damn bar.

I knew Ben probably did not still work there, but I was putting myself in the position where I could possibly see him again. I've been more nervous walking up to bars because I was scared of being alone, than I was walking into that bar last night. Time does a lot to you and I can honestly say, I am strong in my life and myself at this stage in the game and was more focused on checking this bar out for blog purposes. I walked in and saw one bartender and less then ten patrons in a narrow room that reminded me of a small English parlour room. I sat down at a red leather stool and flat out asked the bartender if a Ben worked there. He said no.

After I got that off my chest, I sat with a big grin on my face and took in the surroundings- walls covered with pictures, plates, and plaques of coaches and horses; strings of deep red lights; a few booths and a dozen stools heading down the bar; and a closed in fireplace. I loved this bar! They only take cash, so having spent three dollars to get money out of their ATM, my beer was ten dollars. I didn't mind though. The bartender told me about their amazing happy hour, 4-8pm everyday, after I mentioned it was my first time there. I told him he didn't need to sell me on the bar, I already was a fan. He smiled.

I was introduced to a local and we all started chatting about reality TV and Sandra Bullock. What a great gal. At some point, all of the stools at the bar cleared out and the line of empty seats looked tempting to me. I joked that I wanted to hop on them. The bartender was at first worried I would sue the bar if I fell, but after convincing him that I have good balance, he let me do it. The people in the booths stared as I stepped from stool to stool with precision. Those swiveling stools are tricky, but I tackled the adventure before me and found myself safely back in my seat. As I bid the bartender adieu with a big hug, I realized this bar has gone from being blacklisted in my mind to being one of the neighborhood gems that I might just frequent all of the time. I think the Universe wanted it that way.

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