Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Café Society

In the post below I said sumthin' to the effect that I spend more than a few hours on the verandah observing people.  After giving the subject some thought whilst drinkin' the first beer o' the day I've come to the conclusion that my time on the verandah might could be described as the P-Ville version of café society.  Yes, I know... that's sumthin' of a stretch.  But we DO have some experience with the phenomenon.

There's this, for starters:
Shot from a café on Václavské nám, a leafy boulevard just below Wenceslas Square and just around the corner from my hotel
Prague has some very stylish and lovely women.

That would be a Budweiser Budvar in the foreground... one of many... but we weren't counting.
Those are a couple o' few images from the Great Divorce Tour o' 1999, wherein we embarked on a two-week program of Total Immersion In Pleasures o' the Flesh in Amsterdam and Prague as part of divorce recovery therapy.  

It sorta worked.  

I think.  I DO know that I spent a ton o' money on that particular brand o' therapy and money spent is often a (small) measure o' success.  Or so I've heard.  (Aside: One ton of pennies... 363,000 pennies to be exact... is worth $3,630 and I spent well more than that on my Total Immersion Therapy.  But I spent less than a ton of quarters, which are worth $40,000.  Source: this.)

We digress.  Americans aren't much into café society, which is to say the habit of taking drink and sustenance in an al fresco environment.  I've often wondered why that is, mainly because our climate lends itself to outdoor pleasures, so that can't be the reason.  Perhaps we can't be bothered to spend long hours lingering over drinks while watching the world pass by.  I don't think that's it, either, as we Americans DO spend long hours in bars and clubs of the indoor type.  I suppose this shall ever remain a mystery for me.

There are exceptions, of course.  Here's one:

That would be the Café du Monde in N'Awlins, a place where I often ended up in the wee smalls to enjoy a beignet or three and that marvelous N'Awlins coffee and chicory after a hard night o' debauchery in various forms.  That ain't a bar but there were/are any number of outdoor drinkin' venues in N'Awlins.  I may not have hit 'em all, but I did my best.

And there's this:

That's a shot o' Belden Alley in San Francisco, a place chock full o' marvelous restaurants that specialize in al fresco dining and drinking.  The BEST thing about Belden Alley (for me) is that it was a mere two or three blocks from my place o' bid'niz when I worked in SFO.  My friends and I would take lunch or dinner there at least once a week back in Former Happy Days, Part Deux or perhaps Trois.  My friends and I always lingered over our drinks after dinner (not so much at lunch, as we had to get back to work) for the people watching that was in it, and the people watching is GREAT in SFO.

So... given my druthers I'll always take my drink outdoors, weather permitting.  People-watching is part o' the reason why I love to sit on the verandah although I'll freely admit the view from the verandah these days ain't quite up to the standards in my previous lives.  The beer is a whole helluva lot more inexpensive by comparison, though.  We takes what we can get.

And now it's back outdoors to continue as we've begun.


  1. "Yes, I know... that's sumthin' of a stretch."


    Buck, I am SO WAY GLAD that you posted the pitcher from stinkin' New Orleans. I grew up in THE GREAT STATE OF LOUISIANA, but I was about twelve years old before I ever was taken to The Crescent City. I thought it was so WAY cool that people in New Orleans ate outside (remember now...I was a kid from a Southern Baptist home in NW LA).

    I thought, "These people are just like us! They ain't heathens at alll! We eat outside on the patio about twice a week, and Granddaddy can smoke out there without Mama telling him to take it outside."

    I really don't know where I'm going with this comment...okay...

    I'll ALWAYS take damn near anything outdoors (weather permitting). Dunno...I grew up outside, and in a house (home) that had outside inside most of the time. I was a lucky kid.

    Of course, I realize that the comment I just wrote will make ZERO sense to anyone but me.

    Aren't you just thrilled that I finally got some time to look at blogs again?

    Don't bother to thank me... ;)

    1. Aren't you just thrilled that I finally got some time to look at blogs again?

      Well, yes. Yes, I AM. I've been givin' a lot o' thought lately to hangin' up my blogging spurs, mainly coz traffic has fallen off of the proverbial cliff and comments along with said traffic. I wonder from time to time if all these pearls I drop before swine (present company excepted, of course) are worth the the ten minuts o' thought I put into each and EVERY post.

      You give me hope. ;-)

  2. I am always appreciative of a good patio attached to a restaurant. The weather here this summer has made that a delight.

    What an interesting post. Where else could I learn how much a ton of quarters is worth?

    ~ Anne

    1. Thanks, Anne. I surely miss those outdoors patios and the like these days. I envy you.

  3. I'm always drawn to a cafe with tables outside. We did manage to find one in the old part of Quito for a couple of beers (Club is the national beer). With the weather so perfect, you would think that they would have had outdoor dinning everywhere.

    1. ...you would think that they would have had outdoor dinning everywhere.

      And with their strong Old World heritage, too. How was the Club?

    2. There were more sidewalk cafes in newer parts of Quito. Many of the cafes are open-aired or with partial covering. But the old part of Quito did not have too many sidewalk cafes - could be due to the traffic and narrow streets.

      There were two Club beers - a red and a green. The green was similar to maybe a Heineken. Not bad. I drank them. More often than not, we drank the Pilsners, which came in a large bottle and could be shared by the three of us easily.

    3. Sharing beer is what makes us civilized!

  4. I used to head over to the Drake at Union Square in SF just to sit and watch the girls walk by. No other reason except maybe the Borders right there.

    1. I found the girl-watching in SFO to be about the best there is.


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