The Busiest Bar Night Approacheth

Toby and I have been eating pub food too frequently lately, with the result that we have no tested recipes to share with you yet. That shouldn’t be a big concern to you, however, because if you’re like much of the drinking population of the United States, you’ll be out at the bars this week.     

Escape from Thanksgiving

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is anecdotally referred to as the busiest bar night of the year, but no hard numbers can confirm this, according to former Detroit Free Press reporter Kelley Carter. She tried to track down the info from the Michigan Licensed Beverage Association in her Thanksgiving Eve article last year.

Napkin Nights visited seven downtown Sacramento bars for its 2003 Thanksgiving Eve Bar Hop, and each of them was packed. Based on the number of photo albums on Facebook, Flickr, and the like, bar crawls seem to be a popular thing. That’s probably because college and post-college students are home for the holiday wanting to reunite in a boozy way (and what better way to show off your charm to a high school ex than to be wasted, eh?).

Dave Richards of the Erie Times-News refers to the pre-Thanksgiving club/pub/bar rush as “Civilization gone Wild.” In his article yesterday, he went further than the basic reasoning that eager-drinker youngsters are home for the holidays.

Why? Nearly everyone is off work the next day, for one thing. Also, many people throw their own bashes for New Year’s Eve and/or Halloween, but do you know anyone who hosts a Thanksgiving Eve party? Nobody wants to mess up the house when friends and family will be coming over for Thanksgiving dinner the next day.       

He got his facts from Bev Walker, owner of the Erie, PA, bar Sherlock’s Park Place. Makes sense.

The biggest bar night of the year is followed by arguably one of the saddest bar nights of the year. Last Thanksgiving, the Yakima Herald-Republic ran a front page piece about the bars that stay open as havens to those who are alone for the holiday. It’s quite a nice tale:

… And then there was bartender Rebecca Merrifield, who on Thursday, as on other days, flashed a smile and greeted every customer who entered the restaurant. She’s worked the bar for the past six Thanksgivings and has no qualms about doing so.

“I’m going to treat you like family,” she said. “This is a part of my life.”

Last Thanksgiving, owners Chris and Cathy Johnson, who bought the Twin Bridges Inn in May 2005, wanted to close the restaurant for the holiday.

But employees like Merrifield insisted that the restaurant could stay open for all the holidays, even Christmas.

“We have too many people that don’t have any place to go,” Merrifield said.

And many customers were thankful that it was open.

Leon Noble, 75, was sitting at the bar enjoying a beer and telling jokes to Merrifield. Noble, a retired Navy veteran, has been going to the restaurant several times a week for the past nine years. The self-described bachelor had plans to make some barbecue and watch the football game alone, but decided it would be more fun to be with his “really dang good friends.”

And so, Happy Thanksgiving to all our really dang good friends and family members.


Published in: on November 17, 2007 at 5:33 pm  Comments (1)  
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Hello, and welcome to our newest undertaking. We hope to use this blog to bring you tasty, trivial, and (perhaps?) timeless recipes from the pages of newspapers. We’ll use recent articles as well as those from as far back as we can find recipes (so far the 1930’s have the oldest). And although we’re based in Seattle, we’ll be using large and small newspapers from across the country.

We won’t just stop at instructing you on how to prepare the perfect apple pot roast. We’re also committed to putting those recipes into a historical context, both the history of journalism and the social history of the U.S.

Why are we doing this? Because we find it interesting. Here’s a little bit about us, and maybe you can find out why we were drawn to this project:

Toby & Shannon
Toby & Shannon at Beaumont Tower, Michigan State University

Shannon is a 24-year-old first year teacher. Although she loves her 4th graders, she has never let go of her undergrad experience with newspaper reporting. While at Michigan State University, she interned at the Jackson Citizen Patriot, the Detroit News, The Gazette of Colorado Springs, and The (Jacksonville) Florida Times-Union. She loves the history of journalism. In addition, she’s fascinated/horrified with ’50s housewife chic and its resurgence. One of her recent literary heroines is Lynn Peril, author of Pink Think and College Girls. She is most interested in exploring the role of the women’s page/food page, the role of women at newspapers, and the changing role of a food section in the current world of journalism.

Toby is a 24-year-old student at the University of Washington, where he studies digital arts and experimental media. A self-described Mac geek (who converted long after Shannon sang praises of the G4) , he dabbles in Web design and is particularly interested in communicating through music and technology. Toby is also an amateur cook. He has been known to get down on himself because a meal’s presentation was deemed sub-par, and he has also been known to randomly whip up blueberry syrup from scratch for the fun of it.

We aim to update once a week, as our students and coursework prevent us from more frequent posts. If you’re particularly interested in keeping tabs on us, Shannon also blogs about children’s books, and Toby posts his recent projects online.We’d love to hear any suggestions you have for us, and we’re always in the market for old newspaper recipes you’ve got in your file! Enjoy!


Published in: on November 12, 2007 at 7:34 pm  Comments (1)  
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