Category Archives: Booze

Being Broke (and Old) in Columbia

By Frank Thompson

Kids! You can talk and talk till your face is blue!

Kids! But they still do just what they want to do!

Why can’t they be like we were?

Perfect in every way?

What’s the matter with kids today?

–   From the musical Bye Bye Birdie

As a mid-40s Broke Columbian, I find myself creeping ever-so-slowly into grumpy old bastard-dom. We haven’t quite yet hit the “you kids get out of my yard” years, but this spring did mark my first time at planting things in the ground and expecting them to grow. (No, I’m not selling dope. That would disqualify me as broke, and completely ruin the verite of my writing here).

To be fair, the whole gardening thing was engineered by The Girl, and had more of a Rob and Laura Petrie vibe than Dennis The Menace’s Mr. and Mrs. Wilson. We’re still youngish and cute enough, and nobody needed a walker or a truss after the planting was done, but it was there for all to see…we were doing yard work on Saturday afternoon. I have since found myself outside each evening, garden hose in hand, watering the flowers. Can Sansabelt britches, a floppy sun hat that once knew life as a flower pot holder, and that old man hitching-up-the-pants-from-the-back  thing be far behind? Will the beautiful and vibrant woman at my side become a mumu-wearing, glasses-round-the-neck, garden-tools-in-the-utility-belt Dear Old Thing? Yes, but not today, and when that time comes, we’ll do our best to live up to the archetypes.

While I find the whole concept of my youth slowly eroding more than a bit unsettling, I have decided to take the optimist’s route and observe how much easier it is to be a Broke Columbian “of a certain age”.  Now get yourself a lemonade, Sunshine, and settle down with your feet up while I explain. I promise you’ll be done reading in time for Golden Girls and the Early Bird at Lizard’s Thicket. Bernice always gets there early, anyway, and she’ll hold your chair. You know Claude always runs late coming from the colon doctor, anyway…


Yes, it’s true. I used to enjoy over-consuming, as did many of my fellow moderate drinkers. We all like to posture a bit as we nurse and swirl the ice in our beverage, musing on youthful indiscretions and the wisdom of age, but let’s be honest. What led most of us kicking and screaming toward a life of sober moderation was a little thing called The Pain Index. In short, the pain of tying one on became much larger than the fun of getting tanked.  Gone are the days of making “the morning after” all better with a hot shower followed by a greasy hamburger and a large sweet tea. After about 35, the hangovers become oppressive tools of physical and psychological destruction. Your soul hurts and your head throbs, and the thought of anything stronger than flat Sprite and crackers makes you gag. This has a way of slowing one down.

Back in the day, a couple of beers constituted a warm-up, what one would have in the shower or on a friend’s couch before heading out for the night.  A couple of beers or a good strong cocktail now is the night, in terms of drinking. The good news is that you can imbibe like a grown-up. Nice, imported beer and top-shelf liquor are options when your sole ambition is no longer to get hammered as quickly as possible. A warm, fuzzy buzz is suddenly preferable to a swirly-headed “woo hoo” experience involving eighty-dollar bar tabs, broken promises, Waffle House and the local constabulary. Of course, most of your stories now begin with “we had a lovely time the other night with So-And-So” instead of “Dude, last night we did eight shots of Jager and then So-And-So shat in a phone booth.”  This is not a bad thing, nor is the fact that your “drinking math” no longer involves a Byzantine alcohol-to-dollar  formula that you must consult before deciding between the case of Natty Lite and the generic  plastic bottle simply marked VODKA and bearing a likeness of Stalin doing a keg stand on the label.


And no, I’m not talking about the Senior Special at Morrison’s, although that is something to look forward to. With age comes a certain freeing-up of one’s time and interests. When I was 22, it was all about getting out for the evening to whatever bar everyone else was hitting.  Food was usually an afterthought, generally consisting of fast food or whatever bar snacks were on offer (translation: slightly more expensive fast food served on a real plate).  Multiply that age by two, and you will find me where I now reside, usually in the grocery store, looking for some tasty ideas for dinner.  I usually cook with the radio tuned to NPR, which is not only free, but provides the sort of programming we of decrepitude find entertaining.

The economics of cooking and eating in are quite favorable to the not-quite-brand-new-anymore. After initially purchasing some basic staples (spices, rice, potatoes, some cookware that wasn’t purchased for $12 along with a coffee pot and toaster), one can enjoy restaurant-quality food (and we’re not talking restaurants involving a clown, meals that come with a Ninja Turtle figurine, or a ping-pong-ball viral cesspool of fun) for about the same as the cost of a number-whatever combo. Consider the following breakdown:

Publix Greenwise sirloin filets (2): $11.00

Head of broccoli: (1) $3.00

Potatoes (2): $1.00

With the above, we have spent $15.00, and likely have enough to save for lunch tomorrow or a midnight snack. Pop for another quarter’s worth of butter to finish the steaks, and you’ve got something pretty spectacular. Compare that with the same $15.00 spent on a couple of Styrofoam boxes of reconstituted yoga mats and soy bean patties, two large fries and two soft drinks.

Yes, it takes a little longer to prepare, and you won’t get out the door as quickly, but guess what? You’re middle-aged now, and a crowded bar (full of hipsters listening to music that isn’t ANYWHERE as good as the Oingo Boingo, R.E.M. and Sex Pistols tunes that defined our generation) isn’t likely to be your destination. And if it is, you’re probably that creeper in his 40s or 50s who still thinks 22-year-old girls want to sleep with him, so you have more problems than just eating cheaply. Think how silly Michael Douglas looks. Do you really need that in your life?

Another option is the cannot-be-screwed-up-no-matter-how-hard-you-try roasted chicken dinner. WARNING: it will make the house smell like Thanksgiving, which can sometimes bring about teary-eyed sentimentalism from even the most jaded amongst us. (Should this happen, just remember that Thanksgiving when your sister was being such a bitch, Grandma sat on her colostomy bag, and the neighbors’ deep-fried turkey fiasco involved the fire department, skin grafts, and a warning from the EPA. We’ve all had at least one of those, right?)

Roasting chicken (1): $8.00

Potatoes (2): $1.00

Frozen peas: $3.00

For twelve bucks, you can’t even get two combo meals (unless nobody supersizes and one of you is a three-year-old), yet the above makes at least two meals…three if you add a bag of salad and a little bread. Yes, it takes more time, and you have to be at home while cooking it, but that leads to my third point…


Yes, kids, it’s true. I remember a very wise man once commenting to me that at some point in my life, not going to a party would be much more fun than going to one. At the time I dismissed this as the babbling incomprehensibility of the aged, but now that I’m at about the same age myself, I see the point all too well.

Hopefully by 40 or so, one has had time to develop a sense of style beyond the beer can pyramid accented with the sunbathing bikini girl poster and/or M.C. Escher print thumbtacked to the wall. Such novelties and niceties as comfy furniture, a well-stocked bookshelf and non-pirated cable tv have generally found their way into one’s life, and the kitchen is usually stocked with more than a bottle of vodka in the freezer and an antique jar of mustard sharing refrigerator space with a half-empty box of Chinese takeout. Home is now more than the place you sleep and shower…it’s a pretty nice place to be.

You may also find yourself enjoying the idea of having friends over for more than “pre-gaming” now that you have reached the “college kids call me sir/ma’am” stage. This may cost a little more than throwing an early-20s party, as you will be providing your guests with more than a keg and a place to gather, but overall, the benefits outweigh the costs. Chances are none of your guests will break and/or throw up on anything, they will all probably bring a food item or bottle of wine to share, and there’s very little chance that bail money will be involved.

Relationships and love affairs tend to survive old people parties at a higher rate, so there’s much less psychological and emotional cost associated with this stage of life. Plus, you’re almost certain to get an invitation in return, so there’s a free meal coming your way as opposed to a “thanks, man, and sorry about your grandma’s couch.”

The moral of all this? Next time your knees hurt, things make noise when you get out of bed, you can’t remember why you walked into the room, and that little s#it from next door WON’T stay out of your  Bougainvillea, don’t sweat it.  Just rest easy in the knowledge that you’re eating, drinking, and living better than people half your age for the same amount of money. Plus, you appreciate Matlock and Murder, She Wrote in a way they can never understand, so hoist that Metamucil with pride!


Light vs. Dark, Izms of Art, an Unlikely Success, and an Arcade Gallery Crawl at First Thursdays on Main!

Alright everyone…Main Street’s premiere monthly art crawl is upon us, and May’s First Thursday looks like it’s going to quite awesome and bigger than ever!

The event is free to the public with food, wine, and beer available for purchase (Don’t worry…it’s not very pricey).

Scroll down for more info.

First Thursdays on Main: May 1, 2014 on Main Street Columbia SC 6:00 pm-10:00 pm

EXPANDED! From City Hall to the State House (1200-1700 blocks of Main Street)

• Frame of Mind– Ciclo Colorido: Where Two Worlds Touch by Amanda Ladymon and Heidi Darr Hope
• Carolina Hair Studios– Art by J. Spencer Shull & Jonathon Inkley
• Wine Down on Main- Home Is Where The Voices Are by Thomas Crouch
• Anastasia & Friends- Unlikely Success by Marvin Chernoff
• Tapp’s Art Center- Smaller Becons exhibit
• The Arcade- Open House with Live Music
• The Gallery at City Hall- About Face exhibition
• Grapes and Gallery- Light vs. Dark featuring Al Fowler and Dave Robbins
• First Citizens Café- Art by Heather LaHaise
• Cantina 76- 2 for 1 Original House Margaritas
• The Whig- Tapping of the Keg, River Rat Broad River Red Ale
• Mast General- The Randy Lucas Trio
• Al Amir- open
• Bourbon- open
• Michael’s Café- open
• Good Life Café- open
• Outdoors- TBA

Frame of Mind
Ciclo Colorido: Where Two Worlds Touch, Amanda Ladymon and Heidi Darr-Hope

Amanda Ladymon and Heidi Darr-Hope came into this collaboration with complete and total faith in what the creative process would bring. Both artists launched their ideas from an initial conversation around Mexico. The colorful vibrancy and rich spiritual traditions of Latin culture and traditions fueled the work, along with the human connections felt through love, birth, and loss. The cyclical nature of both artists’ processes made for an easy partnering. Heidi had been inspired by her numerous travels there and Amanda, being born half Mexican has had an estranged yet inert connection with her roots.

The colors they associated with Mexico formed the initial springboard for the work in this exhibition. Ciclo Colorido (colorful cycle). The colors of the Day of the Dead are: Red, Orange, Purple, Pink, Yellow, and Black/White. All colors were utilized to connect with the spiritual and emotional qualities and their role in ceremonial rituals.

Several years ago Heidi traveled to the Mexican state of Chiapas, home to the ancient Mayan ruins of Palenque, and Bonampak. Enthralled with the indigenous Mayan beliefs and traditions, she began this series of works around the physical shape of the Mayan cyclical calendar – a circular mandala. The work evolved into a study of the layers of our human and spiritual existence.

A great deal of Amanda’s current work revolves around the theme of growth and motherhood. While her work continues to evolve from its roots in biology and nature’s connection into the unconscious, this new body of work also explores the physical and emotional cycles of gestation to birth. Partnering the colors, symbols, and patterning of Day of the Dead ceremonial imagery with her own invented biomorphic forms, the work attempts to exude power yet fragility.

“We write, we make music, we draw pictures because we are listening for meaning, for feeling, for healing. And during the writing of the story, the painting, or the composing, or singing, or playing, we are returned to that open creativity which was ours when we were children. We cannot be mature artists if we have lost the ability to believe that which we had when we were children. An artist at work is in a condition of complete and total faith.” Madeleine L’engle

Intensely interested in a creative process that respects intuition and introspection, Heidi Darr-Hope views her art making as a means of self-discovery, an intuitive expression of her inner being.
My art is my life and my life is my art. Overlapping experiences fold over and into each other – the mundane and the sacred: my home, my garden, my stacks of books to read, my drawers of found objects and cut out images, my husband and children and grandchild, my yoga, my grocery list, my oncology art and healing students, the long list of places I want to travel, my longing to find the quiet within the roar…
My life and my art follow an intuitive path influenced by it all. Having worked as a professional artist and teacher for over thirty years, my hands and eyes and soul are trying their best to absorb it all, striving to live within the magical realm where the outer world melds with the inner.

Heidi Darr-Hope has received numerous honors and awards and has exhibited her work both nationally as well as internationally. Heidi Darr-Hope received the Elizabeth O’Neil Verner Awards from Governor Haley on May 5, 2011. That same year, The Palmetto Center for Women awarded Heidi the 2011 Twin (Tribute to Women in Industry) Award in Health and Wellness for her work in the field of Art and Healing. In 2009, she formed Healing Icons®, a 501C3 non-profit whose mission is to facilitate healing through creating art from the trauma associated with a cancer diagnosis.

Amanda Ladymon’s most recent work deals with family imagery, local history, and the concept of motherhood. Being a new mother has had the greatest impact on her artistic approach, opening up her visual dialogue into new areas of exploration into imagery, color, and materials. Being a full-time mom, artist, and part-time teacher has become a new, exciting adventure that she will continue to address in her work. She has a two-year old daughter, Lily, a wonderfully supportive husband, Eric, and is expecting another baby girl in June.

Her earlier works involve creating a circular dialogue, with one part affecting another, creating an endless flow of biomorphic, organic forms and evolving experimentation with materials. Research on the interior workings of the human body and of plants and ocean life on the macro and microscopic level creates the initial cognitive drive for the work. Balancing a tension through visual relationships of form and color, her mixed media pieces are the product of a natural, self – organizing principle that operates intuitively. There is an endless interplay between the structured and the amorphous or between evolution and entropy.

Amanda Ladymon is owner of Ladybug Art Studios, a home-based creative center for art and education, working with local non-profits and the community. She was the recipient of the Artist Ventures Initiative Grant in 2013 from the SC Arts Commission, which is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. Amanda is an Adjunct Professor for the University of South Carolina Department of Art. She is also the art teacher at the Montessori School of Columbia. Visit her new website at for more information.

Anastasia & Friends

Unlikely Success, Marvin Chernoff

How did a kid who bootlegged meat on the streets of Brooklyn during World War II end up eating ice cream with a future president and making ads for one of the world’s largest companies?

Marvin Chernoff shows us this and more in his book “Unlikely Success,” the story of how he built a multi-million dollar advertising and public relations agency, despite knowing little about making ads and never attending business school.

For the month of May, Anastasia & Friends is thrilled to host a book launch and multi-media exhibition for “Unlikely Success: How a Guy Without a Clue Built One Helluva Business” by Marvin Chernoff. Marvin will be present in the gallery on May 1st, from 6pm to 9pm during the opening reception to sign copies of his book, and we’ll also have a display of memorabilia from episodes of the book and some of the art he has collected over the years will be for sale.

Before his retirement, Chernoff/Silver became an industry powerhouse with $80 million in capitalized billings and nearly 100 employees that used musical comedies for public relations, baked a world-record-breaking cake and nabbed the corporate image campaign for a major oil company – and did it all with pets in the lobby and kids in an office nursery.

“Chernoff/Silver as an organization derived some serious benefits from our support for the arts. Our support for the arts enhanced our ability to express.
It did make us more interesting. It did build bridges to the community.
It did help give us vitality … and soul.”
Marvin Chernoff

Unlikely Success is an engaging, enlightening, and thoroughly entertaining collection of recollections that let us follow Marvin Chernoff from his days playing stickball on the streets of Brooklyn to winning the Shell Oil corporate advertising account away from the Madison Avenue “big boys” for his ad agency in Columbia, South Carolina.

Whether this book is a curriculum of study for budding entrepreneurs is debatable; how could there possibly exist a roadmap to the kind of success that Marvin built largely on the very idea of having no roadmap?

Even in today’s world of management consultants, executive trainers, corporate coaches and online MBA degrees, Unlikely Success is a first-rate, first-person motivational memoir that will enflame the can-do spirit in anyone who has even an ounce of that spirit to begin with.

Anastasia & Friends is located at 1534 Main Street in Columbia, inside the Free Times’ building, just across the street from the Columbia Museum of Art. For more information, contact Anastasia Chernoff at 803 665 6902 or email at

Wine Down on Main
Home Is Where The Voices Are, Thomas Crouch

Wine Down is excited to have Thomas Crouch back on our walls in “Home is Where The Voices Are”. Thomas Crouch is a Columbia, SC native that has paintings in private collections throughout Europe, Asia, South America and the US. Having studied figurative oil painting, figurative drawing and art theory under Rose Shakinovsky and Claire Gavronsky at Lorenzo De Medici School of Art in Florence, Italy, Crouch obtained a BA/Art Studio degree from The University of South Carolina under Phillip Mullen and Jim Steven in 1997. He has shown in group or solo shows in Columbia at Gallery at Dupre, Bank Of America, Colonial Life, Anastasia and Friends, Tapp’s Art Center, S&S Art Supply, Wine Down, Gallery 80808, Gallery 701, Art Bar, The Kraken Gastropub, Hunter-Gather Brewery, Red Door and Redbird Studio Gallery with live painting demos at Columbia Museum of Art. He was a featured artist at the 2013 Lexington and Richland County Cultural Commission Founders Dinner and he Spoke at City Art’s “High Noon Artist Talk” . He was Nominated Artist of the Year – Jasper Magazine 2012,13, voted “Best Artist” writer’s pick Columbia Free Times, won first place premium drawing SC State Fair 2013, and created Art Bar Agora; an outdoor art, music and food showcase with five successful Agoras since 2011.

Crepes and Croissants

We are looking forward to another phenomenal pairing by Main Street/Sumter Street power duo, Crepes and Croissants and Wine Down! Look for the deliciousness in front of Wine Down on Main.

Carolina Hair Studios Gallery
J. Spencer Shull & Jonathan Inkley

CHS Gallery Presents J. Spencer Shull & Jonathan Inkley Thursday, May 1, 2014 through Friday, June 27, 2014 CHS Gallery and Izms of Art present visual artists J. Spencer Shull and Jonathan Inkley. The opening reception will be at CHS Gallery during May’s First Thursdays on Main – May 1, 2014, 6 pm – 9 pm. The closing reception will be at CHS Gallery during June’s First Thursday on Main, June 5, 2014, 2014, from 6 pm until 9 pm. CHS Gallery (at Carolina Hair Studios) 1537 Main Street Columbia, SC Izms of Art Columbia, South Carolina For information call: (803) 315-5920 or e-mail:

Tapp’s Art Center
Smaller Becons

Tapp’s Arts Center is pleased to present Smaller Becons, a group show of artists’ works no larger than 12”. This is an open-call opportunity so please submit your proposals to Tapp’s by Saturday, April 26th, 2014. (Refer to the submission guidelines below for further details.) Small work fosters intimacy, it compels you to cross boundaries, investigate and relate. Smaller Becons represents the strong artistic presence in Columbia in small doses. The show includes a variety of media—painting, photography, sculpture, installation, and video and encourages you to get up-close-and-personal with creativity. Tapp’s Arts Center is Columbia’s community center for visual and performing arts located at 1644 Main Street. Tapp’s identifies that a thriving city is one rich in cultural activity. Our mission is to provide communal space, studios, and exhibition opportunities to strengthen artistic voices and enrich the lives of Columbia’s diverse communities. Smaller Becons Open Call for Submissions This is an open call opportunity in any media under 12”. We will only accept original artwork and all submissions must be for sale. Work must be ready to hang or display. Works not ready to hang will not be included in the show. Submission Guidelines: Please email images of works to A maximum of 3 pieces may be submitted for consideration. Image filenames must be labeled with the artist’s name and numbers corresponding to a list of works (Example:John_Smith_01_Title.jpg). Files must be in .jpg format at 72 dpi. The total size of the attached files should not exceed 2 MB. Images should be high quality, clear, accurate representations of the artist’s work. Notification: Artists will be notified of selection results by email during the week of April 26, 2014. Please refer to the website for full details of the open call Process- or call us at 803-988-0013. We look forward to your submissions!

Grapes & Gallery

Al Fowler, 24 x 36, $225

Grapes and Gallery presents the Light v. Dark Art Show & Wine Tasting, featuring pieces by Al Fowler and Dave Robbins. There will also be a wine tasting consistent with the Light v. Dark theme of the evening. The event is open to the public. There is no entry fee, but there will be a charge for the wine tasting.

The Arcade

Get ready to enjoy the shops and artist galleries of Columbia’s Historic Arcade. Over The Top boutique will be bringing in a Jazz band, and Roe Young will be providing food and drinks! The Wurst Wagon will be right outside, as well.

One Columbia for Arts and History

The One Columbia office will be open at 1219 Taylor Street. Stop by for a chat and have a draft beer on us.

The Gallery at City Hall

About Face at the Gallery at City Hall

This new exhibit at the Gallery at City Hall is composed of portraits and plein air paintings by About Face participants. About Face is a group of artists that share a figural model in the Columbia Museum of Art’s studios. This group, representing a wide range of ages and abilities, offers a supportive and friendly atmosphere in which to hone artistic skills. The portrait sessions meet twice a month with a model and once a month the group gets together and goes out to a farm or historic home to paint outdoors. Many of the people participating are brand new to painting and drawing while others have been involved for over two decades! City Hall is located at 1737 Main Street, on the corner of Main and Laurel Streets.

First Citizens Café

Stop in from 6-9pm to enjoy the works of local artist, Heather LaHaise.

Michaels Café and Catering

Miles Away by Molly Harrell

I am a commercial photographer in Columbia, SC, residing on Main Street. Although I am known for my work as a portrait photographer, I am in awe of the beauty of the palm tree. To me, they are majestic, sexy, and symbolic of happy times on holidays in the tropics. The mere sight of a palm tree photograph takes me miles away, I can hear the breeze blowing. My goal, with this series, is to transport the viewer to a tropical coast, away from the hustle and bustle of busy life, and to experience, through all his/her senses, the endless sounds of those haunting trade winds, blowing through the fronds of these magnificent palm trees.

Cantina 76

Cantina 76 always joins the First Thursdays on Main fun. Stop in for our FToM Special, 2 for 1 Original House Margaritas.

Paradise Ice

There’s never a shortage of goodies to enjoy around Main Street’s happiest shop…it’s THE PLACE for iced custards, Italian ices, homemade and organic…quality and taste! Come by on First Thursday to find out our newest flavors plus our latest cookie/iced custard. As always, we will have the usual local coffee, tea, home made chai & hot chocolates. Come see us for the YUM!

The Whig

Tapping of the Keg- River Rat Broad River Red Ale

Mast General

Randy Lucas Trio – 6 pm to 7:30 pm- Columbia area acoustic group, Randy Lucas, Jim Graddick and Dave Holder, combine their amazing talents playing bluegrass, pop and some old standards.

Something Special Florist

Columbia’s premiere florist will be celebrating First Thursdays on Main for May; come see our new spring merchandise. You’re always welcome to call for more info, to order flowers, or book events: 803-407-7123.

The Cigar Box Main Street

The Cigar Box Main Street is the newest edition of the Cigar Box shops. First Thursdays on Main Specials include Padilla and Carlos Torano: buy 3 and get 1 free or buy 7 and get 3 free.

Michel’s Drugs

From Marble Falls’ Main Street to Columbia’s Main Street…Michel’s Drugs will be set up and ready to see you at May’s First Thursdays on Main event THIS Thursday from 6-9 pm. Over a hundred years ago, Kyle Michel’s family started this iconic TX drug store and general store hybrid. Now, our Main Street neighbor is bringing a whole different idea to us…SO join Kyle on Main Street in front of his office (between Frame of Mind and Anastasia and Friends/Free Times).

He has the BEST vinyls around. Be prepared to shop for records at Michel’s Drugs. Open during First Thursdays on Main…now on YOUR Main Street!

The Nickelodeon

South Carolina’s Non-Profit Cinema since 1979, the Nick is a 99 seat theater run by The Columbia Film Society. It is home to three film screenings daily, and special series with extra showtimes. Check them out at for the latest programming during this First Thursdays on Main event.

First Thursdays on Main is Columbia’s monthly art crawl and streetfest hosted by the Main Street merchants on the first Thursday of every month from 6 to 10 pm. This event showcases the revitalized Main Street community and includes our merchants from the Capital to City Hall.

You may contact Mark Plessinger by calling (803)988-1065 or via email at

Please also visit our website for additional info and happenings at

For $1.95 Liquor Drinks, I Will Make This Place Cool

Wow.  Thanks for all the responses and shares of my last post, guys!  But you really shouldn’t have done that.  :/  As I have low self-esteem (I wore a corrective leg brace as a small child), I’m desperate for your approval.  All you’ve done is encourage me to post again…and again…and again.  I’ll probably run out of things to write about in a week and just start posting random pics of my dog.

It has already begun.
It has already begun.

I’m ALWAYS searching for cheap drinks in our fair city.  When a friend told me she’d found a place that offers $1.95 liquor drinks ALL THE TIME ALWAYS (Not just for happy hour), I had to check it out!

This magical place is…


Okay.  I know what you’re thinking.  Hanging out in a chain restaurant bar is about as uncool as you can get, right?  Might as well just meet up with your buds at Applebees.  But at least this is a small chain.

And it’s pretty cool-looking on the outside…

California Dreaming used to be a Train Depot!  Yeah History!
California Dreaming used to be a Train Depot! Yeah History!

And the inside is rather classy as well…

Nice digs!
Nice digs!

The menu is ho-hum, and I personally find the food prices to be higher than they should be, but then they have these amazeballs honey croissants…

Buttery Honey-Laden Mouthgasm!
Buttery Honey-Laden Mouthgasm!

But we’re not even talking food here.  We’re talking about cheap liquor.  Really cheap liquor.  We’re talking about cheap liquor in a non-dive bar setting.  We’re talking cheap liquor in a place with really good bar service (Hi, cute bartender guy!).

We are pleased!
We are pleased!

I’ve decided.  California Dreaming WILL BE A COOL BAR DESTINATION HENCEFORTH!  Are you with me?  Can we all rise above the chain restaurant bar stigma to save some much-needed cash?  Can we?

You know what?  I don’t even care.  Even if no one else hangs out there and I’m judged by all echelons of society, you’ll at least know where to find me!

Say hello to my cheap little friend (the drink, I mean)!
Say hello to my cheap little friend (the drink, I mean)!