Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Happy Wednesday! Liz here, and today as part of our cheers theme, I’m thinking about Cheers! The Show!

As the theme song is playing in my head, I wonder about the yearning for a place like that bar in Boston. Some place familiar, where everybody knows your name. 🙂 Although, my introverted self is a little put off by that, there is something comforting about being with people who know you in a place that feels like home. How about this: Does a place like Cheers and all it represents speak to your soul or do you tend to shy away from places like that? 

Barb: Weirdly enough, when I was in my twenties I had a bar like Cheers. My husband and I both worked in downtown Boston. After work I would walk to meet him in The Public House, a bar on Beacon Hill. It was six blocks away from the real Cheers bar, then known to us as The Bull & Finch Pub at the Hampshire House because Cheers wasn’t yet on television. I don’t think everybody at the Public House knew my name, though many more people who worked across the street at the State House knew my husband’s. But there was always a long and expanding table in one corner filled with people I did know and who knew me well. I have to say I loved it and it went on for years. But then things broke up as those things do. Some people married, some moved to the suburbs, some had babies. That drink-after-work-time became dollar-a-minute-time at daycare. A few years ago I was back at The Public House for the first time in 35+ years for a memorial for a dear friend. It is now called Emmets but is otherwise unchanged. It was like I had never left.

Liz: I love that, Barb. For me, it’s my sushi place across the street from my apartment building – at least before COVID. I was in there all the time, knew the owners, it’s a place where a lot of people in my building and on my street hung out, and the yoga crew went there a lot. Now, I only go in to grab takeout. Things are so different…

Edith/Maddie: I went to that sushi place with you, Liz! And speaking of sushi, when I lived in a commuter town in Japan and my American Navy boyfriend worked nights occasionally, I found a neighborhood bar with a woman owner/bartender. I felt comfortable going there alone. I would practice my Japanese, she would practice her English. I memorialized her in my short story, “Sushi Lessons,” that appeared in the Malice Domestic anthology Mystery Most Edible. (Note: the real bartender never did any nefarious deeds – at least that I was aware of.)

Julie: Back at the beginning of my theater career I’d go out with people after the show, and the bartender would have my drink ready. Both fun, and not great, but it was the 80s. Nowadays, when I go to theater (used to go, sniff), I’d always know someone working, which was nice. I like going places where I know people, and I can let down a bit. I miss those days, a lot.

Sherry: I’ve lived in Virginia twice. The first time we lived here I often went to two different Starbucks near me. At one I always ran into people I knew and my friends thought I knew everyone. And at the other one my favorite barista Miguel, would always get my drink ready. Miguel, is still there and I love chatting seeing him after all these years. There is something comforting about having people know you. I think it’s one of the great things about going to conferences — you get to see people you know and love.

Jessie: I love all these stories! I am not sure that I have anythign like this in my life that is a public space quite like the ones you all describe. I am recognized at the general store in my village and at the post office and recognize everyone who works in each place. There have been bookstores and yarn shops and greenhouses over the years that I could say the same about. I’d have to agree with Sherry about the pleasure of the community and the fun of being known at conferences. Fingers crossed that before long all that will happen once more!

Readers, how about you? Do you have a place where everybody knows your name? Tell us in the comments below.

17 Thoughts

  1. My indie bookstore was that place when we were in PA. They not only greeted me by name like a long lost friend, but they knew I love my cozies and would give me first dibs on shipments of new books. I miss that store! I haven’t found one here yet.

  2. As a massive fan of the “Cheers” TV series (I’m currently on Season 5 of my latest re-watch), it’s nice to see the show play such a big part of today’s topic.

    I’m a creature of habit so the places I go to for products and/or services tend to learn my name. So while it may not be quite as excitedly uttered as “Norm!”, when I walk in I’m usually greeted by more than one person who knows me. At some places, I don’t even have to put in my order. They just ask if I’m getting my sub and if I say yes, I’m done ordering.

    But the one place I love(d) to hang out (before the pandemic) was the 99 Restaurant and Pub in Fairhaven, MA. It’s part of a chain, but this particular place is just great to hang out at because I know so many of the staff by name. The great bartender Jenn, who knows my food order so well that she can tell when the kitchen has screwed it up just by looking at it. This is the place where the weekly trivia nights became part of my life the last 4 years since the passing of my mother. I’ve become close enough friends with two of my trivia partners that we exchange Xmas gifts now.

    And there’s the ethereal beauty of the waitress Jessi, who if she had the bad taste to return my interest, would make me break out of my retirement from the social scene (not that I was ever that active, but still).

    And they all know my name when I walk in so I did have a slight “Norm!” moment when I would walk in each week.

    1. We had a 99 at the end of our dirt road at our cottage in Marlborough. MA. It was exactly as you describe. It’s something else now, and we sold that place in 2007, but for awhile it was great.

  3. My local Peet’s coffee ( one town over) is that place for me. I go out of my way to go there for exceptional coffee ( sorry, local Starbucks!) and pre-Covid-19, the baristas knew me by name and knew my coffee drink. The shop was closed from March to June and re-opened in June with an app for ordering remotely. I still go there to pick up my coffee and wave hello to the baristas ( and tip them more generously than I did pre-Covid!). I am so happy that they reopened !

  4. Being an old Army brat, I grew up know how to make friends easily. However those “friends” came and went regularly as clockwork. When my Dad retired when I was in high school, I couldn’t fathom the idea of having gone to school with the same kids from day one. My whole world changed to where I was actually more of a loner. I’d say now I’m middle ground with a few extremely close friends, lots of social friends and still never meet a stranger.

    Can’t say I’ve ever had a place that I would consider like in Cheers. We now live in a very small town with few places to go. I would say my closest place like that now would be our downtown pickin’ park where anyone and everyone comes with their musical instruments to jam from April to December during a “normal” year including local folks that come every night to a slew of tourist. There’s local restaurants and grab and go goodie places to grab something to eat and drink while enjoying the bands if you are like me and don’t play anything. All of us locals are a family of sorts, keeping up with each other, caring about each other and there with a helping hand or work of encouragement if needed.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  5. I don’t go out enough to have a bar or sushi place or coffeehouse where people know me, although I suspect they know me at the local post office. But I definitely miss the camaraderie of conferences. Soon, I hope, we can get back to that.

  6. The place where I am most well known and visit with friends is our public library! 😉

  7. Okay, now I have an earworm for the day. I loved Cheers, actually, I think it was the song I loved.

    When I lived in NY in the 1970s we frequented a pub named McCann’s. It was a laid back place by NYC standards and yes, everyone knew your name, and your drink. I miss that. I don’t go out enough anymore for that to happen. I’m looking forward to attending conferences, too.

  8. Yes, reader/fan conventions.

    I had a favorite diner near my old job. They knew the time that I would get their and when they saw me, they would say my name and yell out my order. Everyone that was in the diner at that time knew who I was. I missed that place, alas they closed down.

  9. I don’t have a place where the staff knows my name, but there is a coffee shop where my knitting group used to meet weekly & we’d walk in & greet one another. Some of the other regulars got to know us & the countermen knew us as a group. Sadly it’s all virtual meetings these days 😔.

  10. A couple of the restaurants in town have gotten my order down over the years. Nothing fancy but local chain locations.

    And, of course, there’s ultimate Frisbee, but that’s a group of friends, not quite some place like Cheers.

  11. I’m not sure how many people know my name, but I’m well-known in a several stores around here because I am a loyal customer. I don’t go to bars, but pre-COVID my husband and I were regulars are several restaurants where we were always well taken care of.

    Now for the weird part. I was very well know in many places in Cusco, Peru. I guess because I was the rare gringa who kept coming back year after year. Once when my daughter joined me, she was amazed at how many people in restaurants, stores, even the airport, would call out my name when they saw me. I sure do miss that, but it was a wonderful time that I will always cherish.

  12. Almost everyone in the whole town of Chestertown, MD knows my name! Or at least it seems that way!

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