311 has a song with the following line in it: If the bars closed would you still be my friend?

If that line caused you to feel any emotions whatsoever, congratulations, you’re a functional alcoholic. And you’re not alone. Especially if you visit me in Tampa and buy me a drink or seven.

As many of you may know, I go to bars with a serious degree of regularity. In some of them, I listen to music. In others, I play pool. In most, I just sit and bullshit with the patrons and the servers. Over the last few years, I’ve experienced a lot of fun moments in pubs, and you know, since I got this blog and all, I figured, what the hell, let’s roll out some cool times at the local pubs. So here they are, in no particular order.

The time Danger’s car caught fire outside a local Tampa pub and the manager told the bartender (a beautiful woman named Jessica) to call the fire department. “Okay, what’s the number?” Jessica asked. The Manager, Dennis, stopped, shot her a look of serious doubt and said, “Nine-One-One.” It’s the rare creature that gets beauty and brains.

Living in Germany and being a regular in a bar in Bielefeld. There’s nothing like being a regular in a foreign land. I would walk in around one in the afternoon and foreigners would shout at me, “Hey, American. How’s it going, hot-dogger?” And I’d be like, “Brauni, Hans, Dieter, what’s up weiner schnitzels?” Good times.

The best line ever said to me by a bartender was in Hamburg, Germany. I asked him when his bar closed (it was five in the morning) and he replied, “When you leave.”

The times I got quite personal with a bartender/girlfriend in the smoky, low-rent pool hall (in Tampa) after she closed the place.

The time I snuck up on my Dad in his local pub in St. Louis while he was bitching about how I never visit. It’s all in the timing.

The time Frank and I played Beer Pong in an empty local pub in Tampa on a dead, summer day. A forty year old woman came in, asked for directions, received them from Frank, and then she asked, “What are you guys doing?” To which Frank replied, “I don’t know what he’s doing, but I’m kicking his ass in some beer pong.” She left rather quickly.

Every time I ever took a chick home from the bar. I guess that goes without typing.

The time I met a bartender who was born on the exact day, month and year as me, in the same hospital. We were both born on Christmas, and he had a picture of infant me, my mom, infant him and his mom that had made the local papers (we were that year’s Christmas babies). As my boy Main said, “I know Florida’s a small world ‘cause everyone moves here from everywhere else, but man, that is one freaky, seriously fucked up, jumbo-sized coincidence.” Well said as always, Main.

The time in the not-so-local red-neck-NASCAR-bar in Tampa when a patron (and complete stranger) bought Peek, Aaron, Dan and me a round of beers because he was enjoying our conversation (and said patron was across the bar from us). We were literally more entertaining than the juke box and televisions combined. I wish I had recorded that conversation. I don’t have a clue what was said. I just remember laughing a lot.

The time after 9/11, when a woman came up to me (from across the bar) and said, “I can’t believe that you can sit here and say all those cuss words after the tragedy that occurred in this country.” Her boyfriend was standing right next to her, doing a poor job of looking menacing. I was about to apologize and smooth the wrinkles (that’s my style) when my friend Andy stood up and said, “You know, I can see how you would feel that way. Because sometimes, I go to church and yell, ‘Why the hell y’all doing all this praying?’ Sit down you stupid bitch! This is a fucking bar.” And when her boyfriend moved his mouth to speak up, Andy said, “Shut your woman up and learn how to be a man. What are you gonna do? What?” I thought the boyfriend dude was gonna cry. He had that whole deer-in-headlights, hope-I-don’t-cry look. Just a priceless pub moment.

I just realized that I could go on forever. I have easily another six thousand words worth of this stuff. I guess that means that this is my first To-Be-Continued Post.