I know a lot of you are old enough to remember Cheers, and you remember the opening song, how it went:
Sometimes you want to go
Where everybody knows your name
And they’re always glad you came
You wanna be where you can see
Our troubles are all the same
You wanna be where everybody knows your name
You may also remember how, whenever Norm would walk in, he’d say, “Hey, everybody,” and everybody would say, “Norm!”
Well, Norm - even for the drunk that he was, even though he bemoaned his life and his relationship with his wife - was in truth a very lucky man, because he WAS the guy who had that place - that place where everybody knew his name.
I feel lucky as well, because I have a place like that. And even though there are bars in the ATL with better food and better beer selection, there is no place on Earth like my favorite bar: the East Point Corner Tavern.
It’s down the street from me, literally 5 blocks away - stumbling distance, as many would say (especially those who’ve seen me stumble home). And when I’m there, I feel as safe and welcome as I do in my own home - sometimes safer and more welcome. Plus, believe it or not, I usually don’t keep booze or beer in my house, and there’s ALWAYS booze and beer at the Tavern.
Get this: when I walk into the Tavern, usually in the mid-to-late afternoon, I usually walk in and say, “Hey, everybody!” and several people will always say, “Will/Bill!” (That’s my nickname, because of the confusion over what people call me, which is in fact… both.)
It’s a scene right out of a beloved and trendsetting sitcom.
If you’re visiting for the first time, then I suggest you eat there. Like I said, there are places that MIGHT have better food than the Tavern, but I have NEVER had a bad meal there, and it’s always consistently inventive and tasty. As a side note - although they have excellent “never been frozen” fries, I usually get a side of green beans or asparagus with my sandwiches and hamburgers. I don’t know what they do that makes said side dishes so fucking good, but it’s always reassuring that while I’m consuming something that’s so bad for me (alcohol) I’m at least eating my vegetables.
Of all the Corner Taverns, owned and operated by Mike Rabb, Jayson Da Luz and I THINK one other person, East Point’s establishment has in the past had the absolute WORST beer selection - but I know that this was because it’s a business, and the clientele inherent to East Point have not in the past been the most discerning of beer drinkers. Why stock beer that won’t sell, right?
Ah, but thanks to some small changes - and the awesome addition of an additional row of taps - I can now go in and drink some of my FAVORITE beers, like Dogfish Head’s 60 and 90 Minute ales, Victory’s Prima Pils, and Kona’s Pipeline Porter. And I bet that if I asked really nicely for Andrea Kruse to score my current favorites - Dale’s Pale, the Great Divide Yeti, and Moylan’s Hopsickle - she’d make every effort to have some waiting for me when I returned. It’s like that.
The idea for this blog post came to me a week or so after I stopped writing articles about Atlanta bars for Examiner.com (ask why I stopped and I’ll tell you, but it’s not something I should bring up in a loving, positive post like this one). While I worked for Examiner, I was limited to lauding only bars in Atlanta proper, and East Point Corner Tavern didn’t qualify. BUT IT’S MY FAVORITE BAR, hands down.
I finally started writing this post on Monday, and here it is Friday and I’m just now finishing it up. The point of telling you all that is because, coincidentally, today, THIS Friday, is the last day for Miss Starr Neel, one of my current favorite bartenders at the East Point Corner Tavern. The fact that she’s leaving and that I’ll miss her should give you some indication of how much I adore this bar. I don’t think a lot of people genuinely miss the people who serve them beer when those people go away and the beer is still flowing. It’s kind of like when Coach died on Cheers (although Starr isn’t dying, she’s just moving to Denver).
So yeah, I dig the booze and the food, but most of all, I dig the people who work there and most of the people who go there - at least the ones who are as regular as I am (the ones who recognize something great when they see it). I dig Mike and Jayson and Deb and Angelica and Amy and Anna and Heather and Andrea and Starr and Deedlebug and Tony and Candace and Chris and countless other people who’ve come and gone while I keep coming and going as well.
And speaking of going, I’m finished with this post, and I’m headed to guess where.