Wednesday, January 24, 2007

A pub right out of the twilight zone

Last Friday Gerry and I decided we needed a guys night out. After we batted around a few ideas, we thought we would try out the new pub that opened just a few blocks from us. Although the pub is named The Black Knight, if it were called "The Strange Confused Babbling Night" it would have summed up our evening.

We met at Gerry's around nine and were quickly on our way. We decided to walk since it was fairly close and despite the extreme cold, it felt great to be outside. As always, the conversation flowed as we exchanged updates on the good and bad of each others days, the way only good friends can. As we shuffled along our voices grew more boisterous, the only competition was the crisp sound of the snow being crushed underfoot as we weaved through the side streets that lead to the pub.

Until recently, the pub had been a condemned building. I have no memories of the derelict building, other then often wondering if someone would ever cut the badly overgrown lawn. As we approached the pub it looked clean and inviting, with any lawn care problems of the past hidden beneath a blanket of ice and snow. As we entered the restored two story pub, my first impressions were mostly of the "..this is way to small" variety. The entire first floor of the pub might have been 300 sq/ft and was filled with a few tables, a makeshift stage and of course, the bar.

There were only a handful of people in the pub and they all stared at us without saying a word. It was as though the conversation stopped the moment we entered. I was feeling a little uncomfortable, as I made my way to the bar where John the owner, introduced himself and took our order. Like the other people in the bar, John's faded black leather jacket, bushy mustache and long hair screamed of a man desperately holding on to the 1970's. He looked like the kind of guy that would have a collection of REO Speedwagon concert shirts and drive a van with a half naked lady riding a tiger airbrushed on the side. As he continued to pour us a beer, I leaned over to Gerry and made reference to him looking like Cheech Marin. We were barely able to contain ourselves and stood there smirking at each other like a couple of idiots until "Cheech" handed us our draft. I commented how it was about time Newcastle had a pub and Cheech responded "...guys our age need a place to go to". Was he serious? This guy was easily 10 -15 years older then either of us, but I shook my head in agreement trying to hide my shock. He then told us there was a pool table upstairs, hoping for a little privacy we headed to the second story half wondering what decade awaited us and mouthing to each other "...Guys our age"?

The upstairs seemed even smaller with the pool table in the larger room and the remainder of the space for washrooms and what we would find out later was a kitchen. Neither Gerry or I are any good at pool, but it was fun to see who was worse (Gerry) as we played a few games.

This is where the evening turns odd. Every so often, Cheech would come in and try to strike up a conversation , then offer to get us more drinks. A very friendly guy, but it was obvious that I had barely touched my beer and Gerry's draft was only a few sips ahead of mine. We politely told him we were fine and he would leave us only to return 1o minutes later and go through the same routine with food. Over the next hour we went through this dance about 5 times, but the best was yet to come. He approaches us this time with menus and starts to recite the entire thing to kidding the whole thing! After 10 minutes of this it is all I can do to stop the grim on my face from exploding to laughter. I felt like when I was in grade 3 and the teacher would tell me not to laugh and it makes stopping almost impossible! When I heard "....the roasted rack of lamb for two is two $38..." I couldn't hold it in any longer and had to pretend to play pool to avoid him seeing my laugh so hard I could have wet myself. All the while, Gerry continued to listen patiently, not a smirk to be found...he was much better at this then me. After 15 minutes Cheech's performance was finished and we felt obligated to order something, so we settled on wings and nachos.

The kitchen is next to the room we were in and before too long, a different guy delivered our nachos and wings. Not to sound like a complainer, but the Nachos were ice cold and the wings had less meat then Rosie O'Donnell's honeymoon. I don't recall that being mentioned in Cheech's 15 minute infomercial?

Undeterred, we made quick work of the Nachos and Ethiopian chicken wings. As we started to play our third bad game of pool new visitors arrived, a couple in their early 40's. She did all the talking while her husband stood and waiting. She was very friendly...too friendly in fact. It was as though she was trying to hit on us subtly enough that her husband wouldn't notice. Nothing really overt, but enough to make my skin crawl. Gerry would later correctly describe the experience as "...she was rapping me with her eyes".

With the wings, nachos and most of the beer gone, we collected our things and settled our bill with Cheech. The flirty cougar spied us and gave it one last try as we shoved a few twenties to the owner and bolted for the door. The walk home was cold, but at least it was quite.


gewilli said...

cue twilight zone music...

creepy... but then... hey yall got to go out on the town!

Jim said...

...yep, but maybe a different town?

Vesper Peeps said...

Jim you are cracking me up!

Squiggy!!!!! LMAO!!!!! (Laverne & Shirley - I loved that show)AHAHHAHAH Keep em' comin'.

AHAHHAHAHA I think I'm going to wake the kids (nap) from laughing so hard. :D

Jim said...

V P,

Thanks for your comments over at that "other" algonquin trips blog and the ones you left here. It means a great deal!

I am a little disapointed with the lack of comments on this post, as I poured allot of "me" into it.

Thanks again for your comments!