I Love This Bar… Toby Keith

If you like drinking your beer from a mason jar, then this song is for you. It’s Toby Keith’s and the video has great opening visuals and a full serving of “short skirts, high techs, blue collar boys and rednecks” and “lots of lookers,” as he puts it.

Thanks to Heather Chandler who introduced us to Toby Keith on our Facebook page in a recent post, we have checked him out. He appears to have cornered the music bar on beer songs. His just latest album released mid-summer is “Drinks After Work.” More songs to check out.

Truth be told, I’m more a classic cowboy music fan, early Willie Nelson, Michael Martin Murphy, Joni Harms, and yes, a little Tex Ritter. Throw in some Bob Willis and the Texas Playboys, but no Roy Rogers or Gene Autry.

However, I have put Keith’s song on my playlist. His music is fun, but this is not my kind of bar. Too crowded. Too noisy. Too busy. Of course, this is a video, but there are a lot of bars just like this one. I’m sure it’s an age thing with me since most of my bar days were before the internet and social media replaced the last call at the neighborhood bar.

So we know Keith loves “this bar.” Here are the bars I love. No video games. No hurling games or glaring multi-screens of the sport du jour. All my memories come with whisky and smoke. Sadly now, only the whisky is left and the atmosphere is missing that smoky mix of good cigars and spilt beer.

McSorley’s Old Ale House, in the East Village in Manhattan. It’s the oldest “Irish” pub in New York City. This must have been some place before women were admitted in 1970. In many ways, it’s still a guy’s bar. I did a photo shoot there with the late Michael Jackson, the British one who was the best known beer expert of his day, and a great whisky expert as well. It is one of the few bars where folks line up to get in on Saturday morning. Don’t try to get in around lunch time.

Floridita in Havana (known as Hemingway’s Bar to the tourists). It lays claim to making the first daiquiri, but like the “George Washington Slept Here” claims that are ubiquitous on the East Coast, who knows? Something about a Montecristo #2 and nestling up to the bronze sculpture of Papa at the bar makes this a Bucket-List candidate. I’ve done it several times and treasure the picture and the experiences. (Some day we will get those old Havana days back again, unless Mark Rubio becomes president.)

O’Donoghues in Dublin just off  St. Steven’s Green is a favorite of mine. I visit it every time I go to Ireland. I once spent a whole day there by myself, just taking the whole thing in—the sounds and the pints. It’s small pub, but the ongoing céilidh, a traditional Irish music gathering, is big. Many of the musicians are on a lunch or coffee break, and they play a pint’s worth of songs and when they leave someone else picks up the tune.

Four Farthings Tavern and Grill in the Lincoln Park section of Chicago. The Second City is probably the first city when it comes to the best bars. This is a restaurant that merges with the bar, so it’s not classic in that sense, but what a place. It’s the first bar I went to in Chicago with Mickey Finn, not the drug-laced Mickey, but a cool drug rehab director who was one of the best in the business. I’m not sure if it was his storytelling or the bar that puts this one on my list.

No Name Bar, Sausalito, California. No windows. No view. Just a great place to hang out. I haven’t been there in years, but I hope it still has the pool table and the resident poet or local babbler at the end of the bar. One Good Friday and dude dress as JC toting a cross walked in, dropped it on the bar and ordered a virgin mary. As I said, the No Name Bar.

James Joyce Pub. The Swiss are not Toby Keith types. Too buttoned-up. But who can resist a more formal bar with a name like James Joyce in Zurich? It was originally at The Jury Hotel in Dublin and when the hotel decided to expand, they were going to destroy the pub. So some Swiss Joyce fans (Joyce spent some years in Zurich) bought it and moved it there. It’s out of place in Zurich on a lonely gray street, but it comes alive and transports you back to the Emerald Isle the moment you walk in and order a pint.

What bar do you love? Share your story here. It’s a photo drop, easy as 1, 2, 3. We’d love to check it out when we are in your neighborhood.


About Author

Josh is an author, former blogger, media critic, x-Capitol Hill legislative aide and White House assistant, business consultant, idea marketing specialist, a squatter at the global village virtual bar and an alpine rock gardener where he lives in Woodstock, NY.