Call me a nerd. Call me a downright drunk. You could even call me flat out irrelevant. Here is just another guy reaching his thirties, with the quest of trying to stay important with the consequence of just drawing another example of a superfluous blog. How predictable can a guy really get, wanting to write about the distracting and spirit scattering watering holes that he too often frequents?
Well, my firm belief is that the bar, as a social institution, is one of the (and why not THE) foundations of modern society. It is here you conspire for the revolution, where you rendezvous with your destined love and it is here you come for laughter and tears, two of life's eternal contrasts. It is here you seek consolation and fellowship after a funeral but also where you go celebrating your country's first World Cup win. It is at the bar where you write the future classic, where you get your tooth knocked out and where you learn one of the true secrets of living, to kill time with style.
Yes, I claim that the bar is for the modern time what the campfire was for the early hunters, what the agora was for the Greeks and what the church was for the midieval villagers. It is the natural meeting point where everyday life evolves. With the extensive urbanisation of the last 200 years it has also become a room where domestic and social space entwines with each other, especially in today's bigger cities where the private space often is compromised because of socioeconomic factors. For many, social spaces like bars, cafés and restaurants are crucial not only for socialising needs but also as a source of nourishment and a place for conducting business. Beyond this, let's not even begin to discuss the crucial role the bar has as a therapeutic oasis for lonely people who are looking for an ear to be lend, a five minute friendship or just a feeling of belonging in a world that is much too cold and lonesome.
And then there is the aesthetic aspects. A part from the often amazing craftsmanship that can be found at bars, what is really intriguing is how closely the material work is related and dependent to the ambience of the location. If you enter a well kept Parisian bar from the Belle Epoque, it is not only the mesmerising stucco at the bar counter that will take your breath away because the true experience is all about the people. It can't be said too many times. The people! They are weaved in the history of the walls and together they were all creators of cultural history. And they continue to do so in the presence. It is the eccentric barman who has been standing on the same square meter tapping ales for over forty years. It is the careless crowd of punks shooting Fernet at the bar. It is the lost soul that can be found in the back moping over rye whiskey for all the heartbroken bastards out there. No lives, no vibes! Together they create something so dynamic that even the worse dive bar can become a place of interest and beauty. Personally, I would actually weigh the people more than the architecture in the correlation of them two because the authentic experience demands a genuine crowd which is often harder to find at "landmark bars". With this being said, I am still a sucker for the Mcsorley's, the Harry's New York Bar or the Cervezeria Alemana. These are all iconic spots and even though the occasional distribution of T-shirts or coffee mugs is quite nauseating there is still a charm in visiting these places. But, and this is why I believe bars are such relevant platforms for cultural analysis, it is the everyday life bars (and often the sleazy, grimy and exposed ones) that can actually tell us something awkwardly revealing about life and it is these expressions that I seek to distinguish with this website. When I come to think about it all, it is probably because of this that I love to be around bars in general.
As I clearly have demonstrated that there is a quasi-intellectual ambition for this project, can we please get in to the drinking and being waisted anytime soon? First some notes and rules:
Note 1: My aim is to write about one thousand bars. These should not be perceived as the best bars in the world as there is no way of making such ranking. Only a fool would do that. It is just a compilation of cool and interesting bars which I have frequented during MY life, MY travels and MY drinking sprees. Yes, it is an egocentric lifestyle blog like that. There is always one condition though, which brings us to the first of only three rules.
Rule 1: I have myself visited all bars reported on this site. No exceptions.
Note 2: I might write about bars that do not exist anymore. I am an educated historian and therefore a manic consumer of the beauty of the past. Bars tends to live short lives and this website can be seen as a memorial where these great places get documented for the big sleep.
Note 3: About geographical boundaries. I write about places I have experienced so of course there will be a high representation of bars from my corner in the world, that is the southern part of Scandinavia. Luckily for all of us, I live next to one of the most vibrant bar cities in the world, namely the insanely decadent city of Copenhagen, which means that there will be some solid diamonds for people looking at this way. There will also be a high percentage of bars from places like New York, Paris, Spain and Italy because these are all favorite destinations for me and where I have spent a lot of time during the years. Fortunately, drinking your way through these places ain't bad either. Certainly not. For instance, I dare to proclaim Spain as the best bar culture in the world.
But I do suffer from a pathological travel addiction so there will be plenty of other drinking destinations to write about as well. Maybe not so much from the Muslim countries though, but I guess that this comes a self-evident thing. This actually brings us to the second rule of the blog.
Rule 2: The sale of alcoholic products is mandatory for all bars that is represented on this site.
Note 4: What defines a bar really? As an example, there can be a thin line between what is a restaurant and a bar. In some situations it is hard to distinguish them from each other and the main reason for this is that they often blend into one another. Let's exemplify this in two ways. Coming to a bustling tapas bar in Spain it is hard to know if you are setting foot on a place that is focused on serving people food or drinks. Everything is ordered and served through the bar and the architectural characteristics reminds us more of a bar than a restaurant. On the other hand there is the restaurant that still provide bar service, often at a very high quality. For instance, the neo-classic brasserie Balthazar in Soho, New York is first and foremost a restaurant that daily feed more than 1500 customers. But always when I am around the neighborhood I enjoy a nice predinner cocktail at the big bar at the right, just enjoying the great athmosphere while elbowing my way with the cramped mob of Manhattanites waiting for their tables. It is all about how much affection and importance the actual bar is given in the context and which role it has to play for the restaurant in question.
So the bar could be defined in two ways and even though I'm personally more drawn to the small charmy hole-in-the-wall places, I can still see reason and pleasure in writing about them both. In the end of the day, I guess that it all falls down to one main criteria which takes us to the last but most important rule.
Rule 3: There is three obligatory components of all places covered in this project. There should be a bar counter. On one side there should be someone tending the bar. On the other side there will be me.
A man walked in to a bar
Call me a nerd. Call me a downright drunk. You could even call me flat out irrelevant. Here is just another guy reaching his thirties, with the quest of trying to stay important with the consequence of just drawing another example of a superfluous blog. How predictable can really a guy get, wanting to write about the distracting and spirit scattering watering holes that he too often frequents?