best bar in america?
according to this month's esquire, the best bar in america is less than five minutes from the minnversity's social science building. here's chris jones' introduction to minneapolis' nye's polonaise room:
The best bar in America isn't Irish. It isn't in a strip mall. It isn't the sort of place that charges an outrageous cover for people to stand around in black light pushing back shooters out of test tubes. It isn't a fight club or a meat market. There is no snobbery, and there is no tonic-water drinking. There are gimlets and manhattans, bottles of Zywiec, and a first-rate pissoir.
The best bar in America occupies a corner where the path to righteousness and the road to perdition run parallel, east to west, perpendicular to the muddy river that cuts this country in two, north to south. The best bar in America has occupied this physical and spiritual intersection since 1950. The best bar in America lies across the Mississippi from downtown Minneapolis over a bridge named for Father Louis Hennepin, and it has a sign on its yellow-brick exterior that points the way to Our Lady of Lourdes, cast in the red-neon glow of another that reads LIQUORS...
local media and civic boosters lap up such honors, though others will no doubt levy charges of overratedness at the friendly nordeast bar. i'm sure there are a million best bars for different purposes, but this honor seems appropriate and well-earned to me.
i have little basis for comparison, but here's why i like nye's: the place really does seem to bring a smile to all who enter. i don't visit often, but i've shared a few wonderful wintry evenings there, piling into the ample glitter-gold vinyl booths with new friends and old.
some of these friends will worry that national attention will somehow ruin the old-time vibe at nye's, but the place seems far too durable for that. i'm not sure whether it is the dim lights, the music, the smiles, or the swankitude but, for some reason, even jerks don't act like jerks at nye's. the hipsters and the old-guard regulars mix warmly there, easily sharing the piano bar, the polka lounge, and the hunter's stew and pierogis.
what do you think of the choice? do you have alternative candidates to offer?