Posted by on January 4, 2019 5:25 am
Categories: µ Newsjones

Jim Heimann Collection via Getty

Between 2006 and 2016, I was largely responsible for picking Esquire magazine’s annual crop of best bars—not the best new bars, but rather each year’s inductees for their list of the best drinking places in America, no matter what kind, from a brand-new cocktail temple to a decrepit old dive. As far as jobs go, it was fun, I suppose, but it did involve an awful lot of hanging around in bars; of awkward-tasting “craft cocktails,” shots of mediocre bar whiskey and pints of corn-sweet American lager; of wandering the darkling streets of strange cities, seeking out pools of light and congenial company wherever they might lie.

I’m not fooling anybody, am I? You’re right. There was no downside to the job.

But I parted ways with Esquire in 2016 and Best Bars is no longer my beat. And yet I still pick them. Every time I belly up to a new bar—and thumbing through my calendar for the recently-expired and justly unloved 2018, that seems to happen with remarkable frequency—I run it through a little checklist I keep in my brain. Am I comfortable here? Do the bartenders seem to hate their lives? (Looking for a “no” on that one.) If I send my friends here will they think I’m losing it? (Another “no.”) A few other simple questions. Nothing technical or too arcane: I don’t care if they can’t make a French Mystique or how hazy their IPA is; I can mix drinks and buy beer. What I can’t do is turn my house into a time-out from my day-to-day worries.

Read more at The Daily Beast.