Thursday night we went to the Spokeasy Public House in the Tower District of Fresno, and let’s get this out of the way right now: we didn’t ask our two questions. Usually when we visit a bar we talk to people and ask, “What makes for a good bar?” and “Whether you go or not, what do you think would make for a good church?” This week, we didn’t ask our questions because we really didn’t talk to anyone, which was okay on that night, at that place.
Perceptive viewers that you are, you probably have guessed there’s a cycling theme to this pub. There are model bikes and bicycle paraphernalia decorating the walls, but the devotion to brewing is also readily apparent.
We entered and found the bar was full, so we sat at a table -- which provided a bit of an obstacle for us. Sitting at the bar makes conversation easy. This time, though, while the people at the bar and the bartender all seemed quite friendly, we didn’t want to interrupt their pleasant conversations.
We decided to enjoy the other things the bar had to offer. It’s basically a beer bar, but two different ciders, one from California and one from Washington state, were listed on the board. Neither was Angry Orchard, and the when the bartender suggested a cider with ginger and lemongrass, Mindy thought she’d like to try it (she didn't love it, but was glad to have tried it).
We enjoyed the boards behind the bar. They didn’t just list the beer, but also high scores for video games. The high score for Galaga was from 2015, but there was no Galaga machine in the back room with the other arcade games. Ms. Pacman’s high score was also listed, and that game was in the back room and the machine was on. Mindy had brought quarters for me, since she’d noticed on the website that they had “classic arcade games,” but we didn’t need quarters; free games were loaded into the machine. I can’t promise those free games will be there if and when you go to Spokeasy, but I enjoyed seeing the bow-headed ball Ms. Pacman eat some ghosts and pretzels, though I came nowhere near breaking the high score record.
We also got to watch the Giants play the Reds on the various TVs around the bar. I’d always rather watch the Oakland A’s, but I’m getting a little pleasure from following San Francisco’s miserable season -- and they did lose again Thursday.
When we go to bars, we listen to the conversations around us -- we might hear something that makes a profound point for the philosophical arguments I construct in these posts.
“She goes to the pub quiz over there, but she’s a theater geek.”
“I have a couple of weeks before the semester is over.”
A woman coming through the door, “I smell the aroma of the beer!”
We thought there might be a chance to talk to that woman who'd come in the door when she sat down at the next table over, but after the bartender got her beer (he knew in advance what she would want), she put in earbuds. So chatting wasn’t going to happen.
So, no, we didn’t ask anyone what makes for a good bar. But on occasion, people have asked us that question, so here’s our answer this week: Spokeasy had a friendly bartender, people talking and enjoying each other, decent music, baseball on TV, and free video games. That’s pretty much what we’re looking for.
(And thanks to Ruth, who we met at a nearby bar a few weeks ago, for telling us about Spokeasy!)