I used to love all the independent shops and stores and all the little hole-in-the wall bars. It had a pretty bohemian feel to it.
Sadly, most of that is gone. Some are still there. There's still a great indy bookstore, and a couple handmade jewelry stores, but mostly there are bohemian-esque shops there now. Seems there's now a niche market for chain restaurants and shops like those found in places like Austin, San Francisco, or any number of College Towns across North America. So now you can find Chotchkey McHippy's Vegetarian "Style" restaurants all around the Country in these traditionally happy-go-lucky, free spirited communities. *sigh* Hippy McDonalds?
So after seeing a couple of old acquaintances on the South edge of Broad Ripple, I decided to visit one place I was certain hadn't changed. The Alley Cat Lounge! I fist encountered this place 16 years ago during a fairly wild bachelor party for my friend and co-worker. The less said about that, the better. I've visited infrequently since. I don't drink a lot and I have a pretty bad allergy to smoke, so I don't get to many (any?) bars. Besides, once I turned 35, every time I went to a bar, I felt like I was there babysitting!
The outside was the same, it’s looked the same for 50 years. A dilapidated brick building with the big black cat sign, tucked in an alley.
At first glance, it’s the dive I remembered. I’m sure I smiled. They had great Long Island’s. They’d use five types of liquor, the vapors peeled wallpaper. I ordered a beer, and sat at the tiny bar, taking it in.
There was an air of nonchalance reticence and pot which hung thick around the bar. Millenniums with faux bed heads, trucker hats or short brimmed straw fedoras sat around me. Pale, hung over and drinking PBR. Most wearing Ironic 70’s T’s with “Kiss My Grits” and “I survived Sol Rubin’s Bar Mitzvah”.
“God!” I thought, “This is a Hippster bar!” Of course none of them would ever admit their hippsterism, since that smacks of conformity.
I left with the words of Bill Bryson ringing in my head, “There are things you just can’t do in life. You can’t beat the phone company, you can’t make a waiter see you until he’s ready to see you, and you can’t go home again.”