A Return to Old Times?

Earlier this year, I wrote a sprawling three-part essay on my disdain of modern bar culture.  I argued most bars today are focused more on mass producing neon colored drinks to be tossed back beneath a bank of TVs, rather than properly preparing classic cocktails to be savored alongside casual conversation.

Perhaps I spoke too soon; bar culture might not be as lost as I originally thought.  My evidence for this reconsideration: The Washington Post’s Editors’ Picks for the Best bars without televisions.

Aside from its focus on national news and political coverage, the Post’s website includes their Going Out Guide, an extensive listing of restaurant reviews, bar and club recommendations, museum guides, as well as the schedules of performing arts venues and Washington’s numerous sports teams.  Post editors then recommend their favorites based on neighborhood, activity, or other categorization.  It is here, in the Bars and Clubs activity category, that we find the “best bars without televisions” subcategory.

Post writer Fritz Hahn introduces his top picks with the following:  “You want to go out and have a drink and gossip with your friends or meet a date for a cocktail, but most of the places you’re thinking of will be packed with people watching sports or, worse, political coverage. Here’s where to go instead.”

The actual locations enumerated as top picks aren’t important really, not to the point I want to make.  No, what’s important here is simply the existence of the bars without televisions subcategory itself.  For the Post to supply their favorites there must first be the demand for that kind of venue.  Because the list exists, we can positively conclude that some folks (who read the Post online, at least) want bars without televisions.

Granted, Post editors also list favorites in several other niche categories: best fizzy cocktails; best happy hours for impressing a date; best people watching; and best bars for flying solo.  So maybe the mere existence of the bars without TVs category isn’t so special.  But I’m choosing to see the list as a step, however small, in the right direction.  More drinkers are seeking quiet locations away from the noise of perpetual ESPN programming.  The tide just might be turning.

Published in: on December 6, 2011 at 12:48 am  Comments (1)  
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One Comment

  1. I’m not a sports guy. I rarely have anything insightful to say when watching sports beyond, “How long have you lived in Philly? Why are you surprised that they choked?”. Bars without TVs? Sounds good to me. I’ve got the first round!


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