Building a relationship with your bartender

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Finding a date in the town of Portland is no easy feat. In a town this size there should be plenty of single attractive 20-somethings kicking around, yet the good catches are few and far between `round these parts. Even harder than finding a date though is finding a good hangout. There are plenty of college bars, pick-up bars, and cheesy martini bars, but where does everybody know your name? People need to understand that finding a bar that matches your personality is as important as finding that special someone.

To assist you in finding a bar to your liking I have come up with a list of criteria that you should consider when evaluating any new potential.

1. Comfort. I have a bony ass so sitting on a wooden barstool all night is not an option. When I think of comfort I think booths and couches. My favorites are Norm’s on Congress Street, Mazza on Exchange, and the Top of the East at the Eastland Hotel on High Street. Norms has super-charged high back vinyl booths that let you ignore the rest of the world while you are in its custody. Mazza and Top of the East have the best chairs in Portland, comfy and relaxing.

2. Service. In my opinion the best kind of service is where the bartenders are quick, friendly, know what you want to drink when you walk in the door, and always want to chat with you but never long enough that it becomes an intense conversation. Also, I’ve always been a fan of the older waitresses who aren’t afraid to call you darlin’, honey, or hot stuff. If you feel the same check out Rosie’s or Ruski’s. Both are neighborhood style bars where the waitstaff tends to use assorted terms of endearment every time they walk up to your table, e.g. “Want fries with that Tiger?” Grrrr.

3. Prices. Being a college student I am constantly broke (I might not be if I didn’t go out five nights a week, but that’s a different story), so I’m always looking for good deals. The best out there is obviously The Great Lost Bear’s “Short” beer night. Sure, Norm’s has $2 PBR bottles every night of the week, but the Bear offers 23 oz. glasses of every beer they have on draft, for the price of a pint. I was close to taking remedial math in college, but I think that is almost two-for-one for the good stuff! Nothing against PBR bottles. For the record I’m also a big fan of Gritty’s 6-dollar pitcher night on Thursdays.

4. Atmosphere. My attention deficit disorder necessitates that there is always something going on around me. I can’t deal with the dank underground basement bars. Norm’s is my favorite because of its distinct likeness to the insides of a big red school bus. Every visit feels like you’re going for a ride.

Everyone is different. Your criteria may differ slightly from mine. (I hope so cause I don’t want EVERYBODY hanging out where I do.) So be careful when you choose your favorite bar and always ask yourself, am I getting everything I need out of this relationship?

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