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Rolling Rock as a stylish brew after it was bought by Bud is like saying the real brew of NYC underclass is Brooklyn Lager and not Rheingolds.

sean mcdaniel

You know, rolling rock still tastes the same. My local distributor bought a huge shipment of it before the changeover. Recently, I bought a case of the new stuff and mixed them in with my old stash. And guess what...I couldn't tell the difference until I looked at the bottles to see which ones had St. Louis on them.

As for the art bars, last night I went out looking for a place that served good barfood in the N. Hills. Which was easy as recently as 10 years ago. Today, that's changed. Out here if it's not a chain, then everything new is a Mad Mex faux ethnic food ripoff (and I know that MM is big with the "mature" crowd around here) or some upscale "pub" with specialty beers and hamburgers with everything but meat in them.

Sometimes all a guy wants is a hot roast beef sandwich with fries (and yeah, gravy on everything.)

I don't know why both worlds can't co-exist. Sometimes I like the microbrew places. Sometimes I want something more basic.

Ed Heath

People who have money want to hang with other people who have money. The Times' travel section sounds like short hand for out of towners. What did you expect?

I read, somewhere, that tap water was replacing bottled water at uber trendy places. Tap water has the environmental cache in that it has a smaller carbon footprint. The thought that water is water never enters into it. By the way, I probably read that in the Times, although possibly on No Impact Man's blog.

I also remember the reason you see plain tee-shirts with designer labels is because it is so easy to rip off one of those sill elaborate designs that the designs all just went with plain and their distinctive logo. You still have the status of wearing a, what $100 or $500 shirt, but the designers are not forced to keeping innovating ahead of the copiers.

Of course, some of these neighborhood bars are kind of scary.

Sam M

"People who have money want to hang with other people who have money. The Times' travel section sounds like short hand for out of towners."

That can be the case. But it is actually the opposite of the current "trend" in travel. Take a look around. It's all about "authenticity." Only losers go on package tours. Only posers still go to Prague. Or Phuket. The "real" traveler goes "Off the Beaten Path." Look at that chef guy. What's his name? Anthony Bourdain, or something? He flits around the backwater in Vietnam and Guatemala, eating what the natives eat. Because if you just go to Paris or London or The French Riviera, you might as well just stay at home and eat at Applebees.

You even see a bit of it in the NYT article about Baltimore. The writer does not stick around the Inner Harbor for crabs at Phillips Crab House. No. The "locals" go to Obrycki's. Which is true. Sort of. But if you REALLY want to go native, you head out to Essex or Dundalk. To some places that are... kind of scary. Know what inspires the microbrews in those places? Yeah. That's about right.

One thing that I object to in the NYT article is the idea that there is a "progression" in maturity. That things start at "corner bar" and "grow" into microbrew/mahogany bars with art and stylish people. As someone once pointed out here, one of the first places that served Guinness in these parts was... Chiodo's.

As for T-shirts, funny you should bring it up. As far as I can tell, the current "it" place appears to be American Apparel. Which sells clothes studiously void of any labels whatsoever. They just cost a lot. I actually just bought my wife a really basic white t-shirt from there, sort of as a joke.

But there you go. Anti-fashion as fashion. Anti-cuisine as cuisine. Anti-travel as travel.

Sam M

Oh, and as for rolling Rock, thanks for bringing it up. I originally intended to expand on that, but forgot. But yes. Agreed.

I understand that the Latrobe brewery is going to start brewing Samuel Adams? I wonder how that will affect the local bar scene in Latrobe.

Sam M

To highlight how hard it is to stay on top of the irony/coolness pyramid, I give you: trucker hats (which are so played out) proudly (seriously? Or ironically?) emblazoned with the word "Ironic."


Someone get me an appletini. I mean a Pabst. I mean, a Pabst in a martini glass. I mean, an appletini in a pabst bottle. I mean...

Oh to hell with it. I'm too old. As long as I am at a bar and no one is punching me in the face, I'm pretty happy.

Jonathan Potts

I think Rolling Rock is a tad sweeter since the sale.

Bram R

I think "get over yourself" can also apply to grumpy rejections of modernity for their own smug sake. Is it so thoroughly impossible to be an authentic, non-self-conscious hipster? Is it so far-fetched that salt-of-the-earth sportsfan steelworkers might also be dickheads?

Put another way: one necessary hallmark of a mature night life scene -- or whatever you want to call it -- is variety. Too much of anything is frustrating. That way everyone can do exactly what they want -- that is, to get drunk and screw, in the manner they most prefer.

Sam M

"Is it so far-fetched that salt-of-the-earth sportsfan steelworkers might also be dickheads?"

Not so far-fetched at all. I was tending bar at just such a place a few SuperBowl Sundays ago. Barroom brawl. Like the kind you see in the movies. Chairs in the air, etc.

Dickheads. To be sure.

I am right with you on variety. I think it's a good thing. In my mind, and in my experience, the best places are the ones that cater to a pretty wide group, all under one roof. Kislings, on Fleet Street in Baltimore, was the best bar in America in the mid to late 1990s. About this, there can be no dispute. Steel workers. Auto workers. Lawyers. Cops. Housewives. Old ladies. Skinheads. Drug dealers. Bums. Electricians. Millionaires. Dollar drafts of Rolling Rock at all times. Ten-cent wings, which happened to be the best in the city.

So yeah. Variety. I am all for it. And I don;t begrudge people their art bars. But I do think it's strange when someone in either camp suggests that their version of nightlife is in some way more highly evolved. Which suggests that people who go out in different ways are neanderthals. Because it is clear to me that we all are.

Sam M

As for, "Is it so thoroughly impossible to be an authentic, non-self-conscious hipster"?

I think the answer is yes. Isn't it? I mean, isn't part of the definition of hipster someone who is trying to be hip? Which, definitionally, adds an element of self-consciouness to the mix? The self-conscious part was looked down upon for some time, but for a while I think there was a level of meta-hipster that actually recognized the self-consious part and celebrated it. But then that became uncool, and you had to reject the self-consciousness. But if you were conscious of the fact that you had rejected it, it wasn't cool. And if you were caught in that trap, the only thing you could do was give up on being cool. Which made you cool. Until you realized it, or started doing it on purpose.

And somewhere along the line you were supposed to wear girls jeans.

Like I said, I can't keep up with it. But as far as I can tell, there is no such thing as an authentic hipster, first, because no one really claims to be a hipster, or wants to be one. It is a derogatory term applied to someone who is trying too hard. Right? I can see seeking to appear that way in the interests of irony, but there is clearly no way you could do so unselfconsciously. Unless you were high. Thus, ecstasy.
Or GHB. Or something.

Get me eyeliner. Or don't. Maybe something in Carhart? Dickies? J. Paul? Wrangler? Ha. Wrangler. Wait. Yes! Maybe Wrangler. Or Jordache? Is Jordache trying too hard?


Atually, I wonder if Rolling Rock now has more street cred since it has gone corporate--making it a rejection of the self-conscious PBR movement, which was a rejection of the microbrew thing, which was a rejection of corporate beer...

Allow me to reiterate: Balls.

Order Viagra

They confirmed that there was a work order to turn my water off today. When I tried to get an explanation as to why, I was told that I still owed money and that a check had been returned. My eyes started to glaze over. I know I was talking to a wall.

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