Friday, April 28, 2006

I haven't been to a bar that cool since puberty.

There was a big uproar about some local hipster watering hole on Chicagoist yesterday. It got me to thinking… thinking about how the biker bar I used to go to in Enid, Oklahoma when I was little is way cooler than almost every bar in Chicago. Think… Delilah’s plus Hideout plus bikers minus Bloodshoot Records and actual good booze.

Further evidence:

It was named the Pressure Cooker, but everyone just called it “The Cooker”.

Bikers! And Hogs! Well, mostly Yamahas. But there weren’t enough bikers in Enid to have different bike gangs or anything, so all the bikers hung out, except during the occasional brawl. But I wasn’t ever there in the evenings, which was when the brawls would occur.

My mom dated one of the bikers (nickname: Fish), and he totally blew-dry his hair and used styling product and sang the praises of the courtesy flush with his roommate-brother. In 1988! (Sidenote: this led to a great story about my mom and Fish yelling out a conversation several years later, when Mom and I were on the county green, and Fish was in the county prison.)

ADDAMS FAMILY PINBALL. Accept no substitutes.

Afternoon pool tournaments twice a week, which is why I was there. What, you think I was hanging out at a biker bar by myself at age 8?

It was clearly a pro-kids sort of biker bar. More on that later.

The bartender, who was the son of the owner, always gave me peanuts or chips when I sat at the bar to do my homework.

The bikers always let me retrieve their horseshoes from the pit when I was playing outside.

There was a crank-operated water spigot outside near the horseshoe pit, for when the place got so smoky that it burned my eyes slightly.

On the jukebox: 776 – Where the Streets Have No Name. 777 – All My Exes Live in Texas (That’s Why I Hang My Hat in Tennessee) by George Strait. And the 7 stuck. I once played that song 4 times in a row trying to get U2.

When my DARE instructor talked about how rough the Cooker was in 6th grade, I realized DARE was a load of junk.

Some regular, or some relative of a regular, had a farm nearby. There was a Cooker Cookout there every year. At one of those cookouts, they printed up a bunch of white-with-red-ringer tees with the phrase “Cooker Kid” for the children of all the regulars. I am going to recreate this t-shirt at Strange Cargo or the T-shirt Deli sometime soon.