Saturday, June 3, 2017

We Walk into a Sports Bar for Some Basketball

Mindy walks into Yosemite Falls in Granite Park in Fresno
Yosemite Falls Cafe and Sports Bar, Granite Park (Fresno)
Stephen Curry hit another beautiful three point shot, and the man next to me let out a big, high pitched whoop. “Sorry,” he said, “I thought I was at home.”

We, on the other hand, were quite aware we weren’t at home. At home, we couldn’t watch the NBA Finals because we don’t have cable or satellite. To be honest, this month we’re going to schedule our bar visits to coincide with the basketball games -- there will be at least four games, so we can visit a different bar to watch each game for our four posts this month. (As of this posting, the series could be a four game Warriors sweep, which would be fine with us.)

On Thursday night, we walked into Yosemite Falls Cafe and Sports Bar on Cedar Avenue in Fresno -- for the sports bar side of things. Yosemite National Park is a hour’s drive away, and that provides the restaurant's theme and decor. Both the tables and the bar were about half full, and we found two seats at the bar with a good view of one of the screens.

Mindy ordered Menage a Trois red wine (she couldn’t remember what varietal the bartender mentioned) and I ordered a rum and Coke. (I overheard a man discussing beers with the bartender, Ravyn. She was describing sour beer to the man, “It’s like you swallowed a bunch of warhead candies, but it’s very good.”) After a we’d been at the bar for awhile, we ordered some tasty Blue Steak Bites on focaccia bread (as Ravyn recommended).

Though there was a framed LeBron James jersey above the bar, the crowd was quite obviously cheering for the Warriors. The man next to me was encouraging them with shouts of “Good team! Good team!” and “Yes! Oh, yes!”

Someone called out, “There will be a whole lot of LeBron crying tonight!” There was much to cheer on the Warriors’ sidet, as they held a twenty point lead over the Cavaliers through most of the second half, eventually taking the game 113 - 91.

When the game was over, we asked a couple of people our standard two questions (“What makes for a good bar?” and “Whether you go or not, what makes for a good church?”)

Blue Steak Bites at Yosemite Falls Cafe and Sports Bar in Fresno
Charles, the hearty cheerer next to me, gave his opinion on good bars: “It’s actually the spirit of the bar, the vibe of the place when you go in. Actually, it’s the people. The waitresses and the bartenders that make the place.” He continued into the answer for the second question, “For the church it’s the same thing. What makes it special is the people inside it. I’ve been a contractor and the sheetrock and bricks and wood are all the same. It’s the people that make a difference. It’s like the spirit in the (Oakland) Coliseum tonight.” That would be quite the place to be.

Mindy asked Ravyn the bartender our questions as well. “This is the best bar I’ve worked in. It’s long and spacious, and you have access to everything you need except lemons. You have to go into the kitchen for them. This is my favorite job because of the good management.” She praised the way management treated the staff.

She said she didn’t feel qualified to answer our church question. “I’m not sure. My views have changed. I used to be a Christian, but now I’ve come to believe in that everything is connected. But before then, when I was still a Christian, I came to see you didn’t have to go to church; you could worship by yourself.”

Ravyn thanked us for coming, and we thanked her for a very pleasant evening. The Warriors also had a big part in making it a pleasant evening, and I guess we can thank them here. Thanks, Dubs, for a great game that helped us have a great time at the bar, and thanks again, Yosemite Falls, for providing a place for us to watch the game!

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