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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.

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