Saturday July 30 at 10:30 p.m., The Raven Grill, 3125 Mount Pleasant Street NW. Cash only.
Inebriated people outside yelling, and inside, also yelling. The bouncer sizes me up.
“You showed your ID in a very up-front fashion.”
Thanks. He is replaced minutes later by a rail-thin man. The original bouncer later asserts himself (“Everyone move up!” as a clog form at the door). The drink selection is upfront and familiar. No beer taps, certainly no grill. The menu is a rack of potato chips, different flavors of UTZ. There might be popcorn. At least one person indulges.
The step down move is discussed, then employed. That Schlitz is so tempting at $2, but does one really start with Schlitz? Some do. But here the $3.50 Sam Adams followed by the $3 Budweiser to the $2 Schlitz is the correct path. At these prices, no one is wincing.
The bar alternates between standing room squeezed and wide open. In a bar the size of a one-bedroom apartment, it doesn’t take much traffic to create gridlock.
Rolling Stones “Gimme Shelter” over the juke box, cranked. Graffiti covers the bathrooms, the rustiest air conditioner over the front door, not on, patrons hope. Tetanus on the brain.
Politics the discussion, of course, while squeezed into a booth. This is D.C., after all. Some people are from Arlington, definitely some from Maryland, but certainly no tourists. NVAers certainly write nice things about this sticky place. This is a gathering point, a place to meet on a weekend, or be alone on a weekday.
Ironic t-shirts abound (“Seattle,” one skintight T reads), but the Mount Pleasant diversity shines brighter. Older locals at the bar, a man with a barrel of a gut asking us, “Have you seen my glasses?”
No. He goes under the table. “I’m not doing anything slick,” he explains to a female. He’s looking for his glasses. A visit to the bartender, another reading glasses inquiry. “Another round?” she asks with a yell. No, just making sure his glasses haven’t turned up. Back to our booth.
“Getting old sucks,” he says on his way out, trying desperately to connect. One more try. “They’re Aviators.”
Well, then if I find them I’m keeping them.