{Thankful November} 18: Neighborhood Bars

November 27th, 2011 | Rachel

Join me in the comments or on your own blog as I give thanks every day this month.

I meant to take a picture earlier this day to illustrate this post.  Steve met some of our friends down at my old neighborhood bar, Arctica Bar & Grill, to watch football.  Later I met up with them, as well as the other girlfriend and wife, and the three couples had some drinks and bullshitted with the bartenders for a bit before venturing out for dinner.

I credit Davina with finding what became our very own “Cheers” bar for the two years we lived a few blocks apart in Gramercy/Murray Hill.  She and I moved to the city around the same time (we only met because we were both looking for a temporary roommate on Craigslist and fate brought us together… but that story is for another day), and we were looking for fun things to do.  She had seen a sign for an open mic night at Arctica, and we thought free midweek entertainment sounded fun.  We ended up having so much fun that first week that we started going every week.

One day Davina announced that she wanted to write a song to sing at the open mic night (I had no idea she could even sing), so she got a guitar, brushed up on some chords, and wrote a song.  I remember the night she came over to my apartment to check up on my because my boyfriend had just dumped me, and she saw my guitar and asked if I wanted to hear her song.  As it turns out, she has a voice like Celine Dion and can write songs better than Taylor Swift (who I really like, so that is intended as a compliment).

Davina Amiri became a regular singer at the open mic night and I continued to go to drink happy hour drinks (and free ones when the bartenders felt so inclined) and listen to a number of really talented singer songwriters in the city.  We made a lot of friends through those open mic nights, and eventually started meeting the friends of those friends outside of Arctica.

The first year, she and I were hanging out at Arctica two or three times a week.  We got to know the owner and the manager, the MC’s of the open mic nights, and all of the bartenders (until they all disappeared a year later, but I’m slowly rebuilding my rapport).  On other nights of the week the bar had such a laid back, friendly vibe that people loved it whenever I met them there for drinks.

Arctica became so sacred to me that I made it off limits to any of my dating escapades in 2009 (with the exception of one Match.com second date who I invited to open mic night against my better judgment, to which the universe responded by having him stand me up… something about not having any pants to wear).  One day I got up the nerve to stop by Arctica unaccompanied and without plans to meet up with anyone and was ecstatic to find several other patrons I already knew, plus the usual bartenders.  It was truly my “Cheers” bar.

I have since moved out of the neighborhood and only go there about once a month if I’m lucky, but I still feel a sense of comfort walking into Arctica’s familiar doorway.  The friends I made there are some of my favorite people in the city, and I know I’ll be keeping in touch with them even when I am no longer living in the city.

Here’s to neighborhood bars and their familiar faces, bar stools and glasses.

 Davina and me at the end of our 2010 St. Patrick’s Day beer crawl

2 Responses to “{Thankful November} 18: Neighborhood Bars”

  1. D says:

    what a good time.
    open mic,
    a place to unwind.
    bright how they shine.


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