You’re in downtown St. Augustine. You’ve spent the day pounding the pavement, beating the streets and soaking your socks in sweat. You took some photos at the Old Jail and the Castillo de San Marcos and none of them revealed a ghost in the background. You got stuck waiting for the Bridge of Lions’ drawbridge for so long you ran out of gas. You turned to your significant other, your friends, or if you are like me, you looked in the mirror and said, “Alright, it’s time for a couple of liquor drinks.”Now comes the critical moment where you need to decide where you want to get all liquored up. Where you go will depend on who you are with and how shallow you are.
If you are with your significant other, it’s recommended that you go someplace where memories can be made and cherished forever. Lucky for you, the human brain forms memories no matter where it is. But if you are going to form memories to be cherished as the decades go by, let them be in some place where there isn’t a conversation between men written on the wall of the women’s bathroom accusing each other of being gay.
Way to Impress ‘em, Stud
Setting up that first set of criteria immediately removes a lot of bars to visit, so let us be choosy about where we go from here. If your significant other is immediately attracted to shiny objects and impressed by status, I would recommend the overpriced Casa Monica. This small, quiet setting never features a band, thus allowing your significant other to hear the high price of the drinks you order and the sound of your wallet losing weight every time you close it after ordering another round. It’s small and ritzy, so dress to impress.
She Might Be a Keeper
If your significant other is someone who actually remembers your middle name before he or she knows your income, take said person to either the Tini Martini where you can enjoy an average priced drink overlooking the bay front, or Stogies. Stogies offers its patrons beer, wine and cigars. Naturally, being that Stogies is a cigar bar, you will leave smelling like an ashtray, but the nightly music is always great, the staff is always beyond friendly, and the owner, Jack, is personable enough to sit down with you, buy you a round or three, and talk the night away with interesting stories. Note also that the Stogies’ second floor is an eerie setting. The large room is as dark as the soul of whichever political candidate you don’t like, and has comfortable furniture and a chess board with missing pieces. It’s a favorite among locals as well.
Fuck it, Let’s Get Wasted
Earlier, I recommended that you go “some place where there isn’t a conversation between men written on the wall of the women’s bathroom accusing each other of being gay.” That’s not entirely true because sometimes you want to drink with your friends. Additionally, sometimes the best way to end the day is by loading up your belly with some cheap gin. Before I tell you about the bars you go with your friends, a story must be told.
I was at a dive bar next to the tattoo shop I used to work at a few years ago. A friend of mine who had just come home from his second tour in Iraq was drinking a bit heavily when he noticed a bro sporting a faux-hawk across the bar.
“I’m going to beat the shit out of that kid,” he sternly told me, taking another drink, resting his mug on the bar and then stepping up to approach him.
“This is fantastic,” I thought to myself, admittedly not doing my best at critical thinking.
My friend approached the guy and a loud argument broke out. Eventually, my friend was pulled off of him before a punch was thrown, and then pretty boy left. While I am glad that a fight never ensued, there is one thing I learned from that event: wherever I go, wherever I live, I want to go to a bar where a guy can get the shit beat out of him for having a faux-hawk. If this appeals to you, and it shouldn’t, then I recommend the Gigglin’ Gator, known to locals just as “the Gator.” The Gator is no doubt the origin of many DUI’s.
Here is how to best describe the Gator. Remember when you spent the day getting sweaty, walking around the various historic sites and tourist attractions? Remember when you saw a lot of sketchy people roaming the streets? The Gator is where those people are when the sun goes down. It’s like Tarantino’s “From Dusk Till Dawn” except the bloodsucking un-human creatures at The Gator can go in the sunlight. The drinks are priced well, and the dark atmosphere is reminiscent of a nightmare you never wake up from. Also, the past year has an impressive catalog of extreme crime. Don’t go to the Gator unless you have a gun permit.
A good second behind The Gator for freaks of the night would be the St. George Tavern, known to locals simply as “The Tavern.” This is a good place to go if you are a hipster or simply on the run from the law. It’s dark and smoky enough to not be easily detected by anyone. My favorite reason for liking this bar is that the drinks are dirt cheap, matching the décor of the place. The bar is long and narrow, just like a cigarette, bringing me to mention that they are conducting a century long study on the effects of second hand smoke at The Tavern. You can’t stop in to ask for directions without leaving smelling like a burn victim. Both The Gator and The Tavern are like a trip to the human circus where they serve alcohol.
All of the Above Sounds Stupid. Seriously, Where Should We Go?
If there are not such harsh restrictions on where you want to drink like impressing your significant other or watching a knife fight in a parking lot, and you are actually just interested in a few solid, decently priced, well-poured drinks and good conversation, I highly recommend Scarlett O’hara’s, known to locals just as “Scarlett’s.” Scarlett’s is great because after the fiftieth time you go there, some of the staff remembers your name. Furthermore, the atmosphere is comfortable and the bar food tastes a little bit better than bar food. It’s a great place for celebration or relaxing, a fifth date, but never a bar mitzvah.
Warning: not all times at Scarlett’s are great. Sometimes they have a cover fee of two dollars. Cover fees and door men tend to attract a high bro population. If there is a bro alert, remember, stay indoors. Bros are known to produce horrible conversation, mimic wild apes and cavemen, and drag girls along with them who are as equally repulsive by their combination of four pounds of makeup, bleached hair that could scrub the graffiti from the women’s restroom, and conversation that ruptures eardrums by its sheer stupidity and shallowness. Also, a high bro population could spark the bropocalypse.
If this summary of bars has still not assisted you in where to go for drinks, just remember this St. Augustine saying that no one has probably said: “Whatever. Let’s just go to Scarlett’s.”