Flat screens, empty stools at the bar and my dear wife Karen

The sports bar on James Street in Syracuse, N.Y.

The sports bar on James Street in Syracuse, N.Y.

Our tummies full from a great New Year’s Eve dinner at Rico’s Ristorante and the clock still more than three hours from the ball-drop, my dear wife Karen and I headed to our favorite neighborhood bar just blocks from the Little Bitty in our Syracuse city neighborhood of Eastwood.

The lights were on along James Street, inviting us in for the second segment of what’s become our yearly tradition.

Come on in, we've been waiting for you. Karen spies open stools down yonder, anyway ...

Come on in, we’ve been waiting for you. Karen spies open stools down yonder, anyway …

At 9 p.m., there’s not too many folks here yet on this occasion deemed Amateur Night because of too many unpracticed fools drinking too much alcohol as one year gives way to another.

We just want a couple drinks at a place with big TVs behind the bar tuned to the one college football bowl game and the early hours of Ryan Seacrest’s musical hoo-hah at Times Square, a barkeep we know, reasonable prices.

Go Georgia Tech. ACC! ACC!

Go Georgia Tech. ACC! ACC!

This place. We’ve been here when it’s crowded to bursting, to watch Syracuse play (and lose) to Michigan in the men’s basketball Final Four, and we’ve been here on more than a couple wind-down summer Friday night happy hours, with big daily friends and without.

We decide on this New Year’s Eve that the TVs may have been upgraded since our last visit, and they look very much like the new set in our living room, the big and bright LG.

We continue with our Labatts Blue Light and Cab Sav and goof about how much or little we know about the musical acts. As Fergie comes on prerecorded from LA, Karen reminded me of how the star called me Markie or some such term of endearment during a phone interview some years ago so I could write a story about her pending appearance at Turning Stone. Take that, Josh!

Billiards, anyone?

Billiards, anyone?

They’ve left the kitchen open this year, and owner Billy sits on a stool next to the open window. Of course, we’ve eaten at Rico’s, so we don’t need to order any of the tavern specialties this time around.

Karen needs to wander to the facilities further down, and I look over at the sports corner, which includes a pool table and dart boards, also unused by us, and plenty of sports memorabilia, photos and a jersey in frames. Somehow Chadwick’s has settled into its identify as a Pittsburgh Steelers bar. Maybe that’s Billy or his siblings’ team. I don’t come on NFL Sundays, so I’m unsure.

When Karen comes out of the ladies room, we exchange smiles from across the bar, and it hits me again, some 90 minutes out from the arrival of 2015. I really like my wife. Lucky me.

We continue joking around, say our bye-byes, and maneuver the mile or so back to the Little Bitty with plenty of time to welcome in 2015, Ryan and Jenny McCarthy and Taylor Swift and the guys from Magic! on our own big flat screen with Ellie B aka Dogamous Pyle full from leftover prime rib stretched out on the couch.

What makes a good sports bar for you? Do you enjoy a Friday post-work Happy Hour visit to unwind, and what would be your drink of choice? Do you have sports bars where you live that pledge allegiance to an out-of-town team, and if so, what team would that be, and why do you think that’s happened?

31 thoughts on “Flat screens, empty stools at the bar and my dear wife Karen

  1. I’m glad you figured out that you like your wife. If you were in doubt, I could have told you before that she’s your very best friend. πŸ™‚ If I were in that sports bar, I’d be playing pool. πŸ™‚

    Like

  2. I think this place should have been filled to the brim, Mark! It looks so nicely decorated and you pointed out plenty of choices of viewing on large flat screens. I would play pool and throw darts, dance and talk to friends, but my New Year’s Eve was spent with grandies! Fun times, cannot let time pass without having them over. The time will come none too soon, when they will prefer their own friends and adventures over Nana’s place! We had pizza, gummy neon worms, sparkling white grape juice and some noisy scaring out the old year and hope the silver under the mat will mean a prosperous new year. I would have liked to seen fireworks but we sure did raise a ruckus! Happy more times for you and Karen, too!

    Like

    • It does feel like home, too, Mark.

      I’m assured that the young crowd arrives for the ball drop and post-festivities, when we who’ve picked up some experience on such matters are already home.

      Like

    • Chadwick’s has a pizza oven, so good, real pizza. Also nicely done wings with a variety of sauces available. And they make several interesting styles of quesadillas that Karen and I have ordered, Colleen. See, we have eaten there on Friday happy hours in the summer. :-0

      Like

  3. I love sports bars! But I’m a sports fanatic during baseball and football season. I live in Southern Pennsylvania, and it is always interesting to see the mix of Steelers, Eagles and Ravens fans at the bars.

    Like

    • You live in a city with divided loyalites, which makes sports bars interesting and possibly a tad challenging, Kate. In Syracuse, NFL seasons are split between Bills, Giants, Jets and a lot of Steelers. Go figure. I say go Ravens for your city. πŸ™‚

      Like

  4. so happy for you two being so happy. love my local places the best, and one in downtown detroit, no longer there, the post, a dive beyond a dive, but neighborhood joint and everyone welcome and huge pre and post red wings game hangout. everyone dances, everyone talks, everyone laughs, pizza’s delivered at midnight. it was the best )

    Like

    • I see why you miss that place, Beth, with Red Wings fans, dancing and pizza delivered at midnight. When three friends and I visited Detroit, well, the Silver Dome, for the long lost Cherry Bowl in 198? that pitted Maryland vs. Syracuse, we went to a great bar after the game that featured all of those very things that you mentioned. I can’t remember the name of it. It was close to a Red Roof Inn that we stayed in. A woman tried to swipe my Maryland cap but I wouldn’t let her, even after a slow dance. πŸ™‚ Detroit had a great sports bar there.

      Like

  5. Lucky you, indeed!

    What makes a good sports bar for you? Less like a sports bar and more like a pub. Quiet and cozy with a bartender that knows you by name, not huge screen TV’s and a crowd of frat boys.

    Do you enjoy a Friday post-work Happy Hour visit to unwind, and what would be your drink of choice? Not often. Depends…IPA, bourbon/whiskey/Scotch or a Bloody Mary.

    Do you have sports bars where you live that pledge allegiance to an out-of-town team, and if so, what team would that be, and why do you think that’s happened? Lots I’m sure. NYC is a sea of expats.

    Like

    • I’m glad you got my Lucky Me comment, Wormy. In this day and age, some folks, not so much.

      You guys living in NYC area, the cozy bar with the keep knowing your name is a good find, I’m sure. I go for a good Bloody Mary every now and again.

      And sure, NYC has plenty of transplants proudly rooting for everybody else among Mets/Jets/Yankees/Giants/Knicks/Nets/Islanders/Rangers/Devils and a college team here and there.

      Like

  6. I spent much of my 20s unwinding at neighborhood sports bars, drinking Shiner and watching games, playing the jukebox and pool. Most bars supported the Dallas Cowboys, but they have not been great in 20 yrs. Sports bar are comforting and familiar to me. In the childraising years, we don’t visit so much. Here and there to shoot some pool and have some beer. That one looks clean and well-lit. I’m glad you like your wife.

    Like

    • Cowboys were pretty great with that comeback against the Lions yesterday, Kerbey. I hope you were waching. Are you still good at pool? I’m not that good. I’m good at darts, though, and I long for sports bars to bring back the puck shuffleboard tables of my youth. I was really good at that. And pinball. I love pinball. I’m glad I like my wife. Some married folks may love their spouses, but when you see them interact out in public, they don’t appear to like each other very much.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m okay after the 2nd drink. Can’t play sober. Or without music. Well, I could, but it wouldn’t be fun. A friend today had to take his son into surgery because a blow dart punctured his tendon and it’s infected, so I cringe at the word “dart” right now. You were the last pinball generation, I think. I only played a handful of times.

        Like

      • Sorry about your friend’s son’s injury. I threw the d-things at a target and avoided bystanders thankfully, not blew them through tubes, which is incredibly dangerous, obvously.

        Yes, me and members of The Who, it seems. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  7. That sounds like a great place to relax and enjoy company Mark. There are a raft of sports bars here in Ottawa as we have two large unversities (one has 42,000 full time stiudents) plus the Canadian Federal government (there has to be close to 100,000 employees there alone and they like to drink), a Canaian Football league team and an NHL team. Then, of course, all the usual customers. My favorite is called Local Heros and they have two locations and one of the better customer ratings. They cater to more middle-aged adults and so the menu and the beers and the atmosphere are not quite as frenetic. It is relaxing and you can hear your conversation. To the best of my knowledge there are no bars that pledge to out of town teams here – but we don’t have pro baseball, so that’s up in the air – they support who they please with no hard feelings.

    I prefer Draft or micro-breweries but I can’t have much because if the kidney thing. I’ll often switch to whiskey but that takes a very slow hand when on the rocks.

    Like

    • You better take it slow with the kidney thing, Paul. I take it slow with the sugar thing and the driving thing. The world is better taking it slow, actually, even at sports bars. πŸ™‚ Ottawa needs plenty with all those people ready to party.

      Like

  8. In some ways, it’s easier to love someone than it is to like them. So happy for you and Karen that you found and like each other Mark. ❀

    Missing you in the blogosphere – hoping you're having a blast!

    Diana xo

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.