iOS app Android app

Bar Life

The Will - Notes From a Dive Bar

Alan Black | Posted 06.09.2016 | San Francisco
Alan Black

A bar napkin, a touch soggy. I leave all my regrets, guilt and anger to this napkin Legally binding A signature, the date, lipstick sealed. An in...

Friday Night: Notes From a Dive Bar XXXXVIII

Alan Black | Posted 11.22.2015 | San Francisco
Alan Black

There really is no fun on drugs, says Martin. I shrivel. He installs solar panels and enjoys New Age ambient music. Early evening, he has failed to ...

Notes From a Dive Bar XXXXVI - STOP!

Alan Black | Posted 11.09.2015 | San Francisco
Alan Black

John escapes from the rehab nuthouse. Vanishes down the lane, straight to the bar stool. They thought I'd be a prisoner, he says. I hand him a Tecate....

Notes From a Dive Bar XXXXIII -- Straight Bends

Alan Black | Posted 11.01.2015 | San Francisco
Alan Black

Bobby, on meds, says he can't think straight. Have you tried curved thinking, I say. What's that? Stand with your head at an angle when you think. It ...

Notes From a Dive Bar XXXIX - The Alones

Alan Black | Posted 10.18.2015 | San Francisco
Alan Black

All gone. Everyone. Just me now. Alone with the bar. My old friend. It's sad. The bar weeps. It cries out, why am I the place for the sads and the alones. For the wicked.

Notes From a Dive Bar XXXVIII -- To the Nut House

Alan Black | Posted 10.15.2015 | San Francisco
Alan Black

John is going away. To a rehab nuthouse -- his words. One year in exile with a bunch of drunks. Ordered by psychiatrists. The doors are locked night and day. But he's figured out a way to get supplies delivered.

Notes From a Dive Bar XXXVII -- Sticky Situations

Alan Black | Posted 10.13.2015 | San Francisco
Alan Black

A long trail follows curious Steven, long sheets of bad luck. He's been in many a sticky situation. He picked up a brown paper bag from the shade in the alley behind the dive. What's in here? he inquired. A used hypo-needle that pricked his finger, that's what.

Notes From a Dive Bar XIX

Alan Black | Posted 07.16.2016 | San Francisco
Alan Black

Bar Economics 101 Commerce He's gruff and hairy and does not want to pay. Flat out refuses. Beer should be free, he says. It is, I say. It's always...

Notes From a Dive Bar XVIII

Alan Black | Posted 07.15.2016 | San Francisco
Alan Black

Milton comes in. There is little poetry left in the man. He's shoeless. Toothless. His face traduced and trampled. The cracks on his face are dry. Saltiness settles in the hollows under his eyes. The dead see, too.

Notes From a Dive Bar XVII

Alan Black | Posted 07.10.2016 | San Francisco
Alan Black

I'm in the present. Things are tense. A guy threatens me with that most dangerous of weapons - YELP!

Notes From a Dive Bar XIIII

Alan Black | Posted 06.29.2016 | Fifty
Alan Black

Someone says, Jake died. We all drop a few rungs. He owned a bar. Lung disease. He never smoked, unless you count the smoke of others. It's still dark outside. The f*cking cognac tastes off. So much for the sour grape.

Notes From a Dive Bar XIII

Alan Black | Posted 06.25.2016 | Fifty
Alan Black

He talks like he's some kind of analyst in the Sigmund Freud vein, lie down and let me look inside your underwear. For that's the drive for everything, he claims, talking to his pal fondling the mouth on a bottle of Corona.

Notes From a Dive Bar XII

Alan Black | Posted 06.21.2016 | San Francisco
Alan Black

When people ask where I hail from, sometimes I tell them I'm Vulcan, as a joke, and they ask, where is that? Geography is not their strong point. Communication is lost when you speak in an accent designed to burr and brogue.

Notes From a Dive Bar XI

Alan Black | Posted 06.18.2016 | Fifty
Alan Black

Here's a resume. Male, 25-years old, friendly and popular with customers, knowledgeable in the arts of mixology, enthusiastic, responsible, and an asset for your business.

Notes From a Dive Bar X

Alan Black | Posted 06.15.2016 | San Francisco
Alan Black

Take me far from the madding crowd. Business is very, very slow. No flocks on the pasture. Is there such a thing as a beer shepherd? A romantic figure wandering the streets with a crook, herding drinkers into the bar. I must be to blame for this barren scene.

Notes From a Dive Bar IX

Alan Black | Posted 06.11.2016 | San Francisco
Alan Black

Talking Heads is on the jukebox. All the hits. Around closing time, the bug man comes in, his poisons in hand. He crawls under the bar like an explorer venturing into the darkness of the insect world. Nothing there.

Notes From a Dive Bar VIII

Alan Black | Posted 06.07.2016 | San Francisco
Alan Black

Someone came in barking about Yelp! Apparently, it's some kind of site on the Internet. He said I was mentioned on it, rude, grumpy, miserable bastard bartender with a fixed scowl on his face and that is his good points. Something along those lines, so he says.

Notes From a Dive Bar VII

Alan Black | Posted 06.01.2016 | San Francisco
Alan Black

The love stool. More people have fallen in love sitting on that one than any other. Mark tells a story. He sits upon it, next to him a female stranger. He's having a beer, she is too.

Notes From a Dive Bar VI

Alan Black | Posted 05.27.2016 | San Francisco
Alan Black

Turn away now if you are disgusted by the description of a bar's grim lavatory. This is not for you. Come back next time to Notes when the talk will be of love and cocktails garnished with fresh fruit. Sadly, this grim description has to be done.

Notes From a Dive Bar V

Alan Black | Posted 05.23.2016 | San Francisco
Alan Black

Friday night -- At opening time, the merchant who adds cash to the ATM machine slinks in as quiet as a mouse. He stocks the money nest with tens and t...

Notes From a Dive Bar IV

Alan Black | Posted 05.21.2016 | San Francisco
Alan Black

Occasionally, the smokers stampede for the door. A fight has broken out or a scary psycho has wandered in off the street looking for a light in the darkness.

Notes From a Dive Bar III

Alan Black | Posted 05.17.2016 | San Francisco
Alan Black

Years ago, at night's end, I locked a drunk French tourist in the bar, by mistake. He awakened under a table on the balcony, perfumed with vomit, a fragrance found in bars. Only the bar's ghosts were with him.

Notes From a Dive Bar II

Alan Black | Posted 05.14.2016 | San Francisco
Alan Black

Tramodol came in. He looks good in a suit. He handed me a copy of Don DeLillo's, White Noise. "Read it," he said, strongly. What are the side effects of reading this? I wondered.

Notes From a Dive Bar

Alan Black | Posted 05.09.2016 | San Francisco
Alan Black

Right after I poured her a gin and tonic, and squeezed extra limes in the bubbles, she asked, why are you so miserable? She was training to be a therapist. But I wasn't bitter. I told her I owned a less than stellar I.Q and she was mistaking misery for a lack of brains.

The Life of a Style Wanderer in NYC

Rai Mensah | Posted 10.19.2013 | Style
Rai Mensah

As I rode back uptown I realized that I had a great night in style. I remembered why I came to this city in the first place. Its really the place where dreams are made realities.