The bar at Bruxelles

The bar at Bruxelles
Canon PowerShot S95
2016

I suppose any pub in Ireland is, by definition, an Irish pub. This one’s in Dublin. I was surprised all over Ireland by how much Irish pubs were not that different from American pubs, except most pubs in Ireland have far fewer TVs.

Margaret walked up to the bar with her camera to get a close shot of the Guinness taps. She was busy trying to be all artistic when the bartender asked, “Would you like to come ’round and pour one?”

You didn’t have to ask Margaret twice! We’d done the Guinness tour the day before so she already had the technique down. I photographed her doing it with her camera (so who knows where those images are), and then that pint went out to whoever ordered it.

This moment was probably the highlight of our time in Dublin, the kind gesture of a quiet Irishman for a couple of Yanks on holiday.

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Travel

single frame: The bar at Bruxelles

The bar at a pub in Dublin.

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COVID-19

Pre-isolation memories, post-isolation worries

The week before my company asked us all to work from home, and two weeks before Indiana’s governor issued the stay-at-home order, I took a week off. I needed a little time to rest after a surprisingly stressful December, January, and February in the office.

I took a few long photo walks, one in Carmel, one in Broad Ripple, and one in Zionsville. All three times I stopped in a pub. The very thought of doing that now seems so strange, yet so compelling.

I’m not much of a beer drinker anymore. I prefer whiskey. But beer just seems righter after a photo walk. I stopped in the Broad Ripple Brew Pub, Indiana’s oldest brew pub, for their Porter. I love a good Porter.

Pause in the photowalk

I also stopped at The Friendly Tavern in Zionsville for lunch and an Anchor Steam. In the early 90s during that era’s beer renaissance, my favorite pub in Terre Haute had Anchor Steam on tap. My goodness but was it good that way. Fast forward nearly 30 years and Anchor Steam is a little hard to find in Indiana. But The Friendly has it in bottles, and I like to order one with my meal, which this day was their fish and chips.

Pause in the photowalk

It looks like I failed to photograph the pint of Guinness I ordered with my lunch at Muldoon’s, an Irish pub in Carmel. Too bad, because my lunch was their Irish pizza, a kind of nachos loaded with crumbled sausage, veggies, and top quality cheese. It’s a massive calorie bomb but it is so good.

Indiana’s stay-at-home order ends tomorrow. Governor Holcomb is sending signals that he intends to allow some businesses to re-open, perhaps in a limited way. He’ll have a press conference tomorrow to announce the changes.

I have conflicting thoughts about it. On the one hand, the shutdown has been a kick in the economy’s teeth and Indiana needs to get back to work. On the other, just because businesses like pubs might reopen doesn’t mean that it will be to full capacity — or that guests won’t be carrying the virus. I’m feeling hinky. I’m unlikely to stop for a beer anytime soon.

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Breathnach's

Breathnach’s Bar
Canon PowerShot S95
2016

I am a homebody. I like to be home. It’s my favorite place to be.

If you’ve followed my many road trips on this blog you might be surprised to read that. I do love to follow the old roads, see where they lead, photograph what’s on them. But then I want to go right home.

Lately I’ve wanted to be anywhere but home. I’m sick of my self, of my anxieties and my worries and my frustrations. I want to shed them. It’s why I’ve found myself pricing airline tickets to go back to Ireland. That was a place where I forgot myself for a while. It was wonderful.

Breathnach’s is a little pub in Oughterard, in County Galway. It’s where we took our first supper in Ireland, Sept. 3, 2016. I forget what we ate, except that it involved plenty of Guinness and a lovely conversation with the bar’s owner.

Margaret caught me dreaming. She gave me immediate permission to buy tickets if I found them under a certain price. She loves to travel and would rather be anywhere but home.

Photography, Travel

single frame: Breathnach’s Bar

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Ike & Jonesey's

Ike & Jonesey’s
Nikon N90s, 28-80mm f/3.3-5.6G AF Nikkor
Fujifilm Superia X-tra 400 (at EI 200)

It’s funny how when I go Downtown to have fun, I tend to stay north of Washington Street, which is the north-south dividing line in Indianapolis. I don’t do it on purpose — that’s just how it works out. But now that Margaret has a job Downtown but south of Washington, I’ve walked those Downtown streets and have found that there’s fun to be had there too.

Ike & Jonesey’s has kept their party going for 25 years now. When I moved to Indy in 1994 I remember hearing ads for them on the radio. I guess they have (had?) a very popular dance floor. Finally I know where they are located. Not that I dance. Heavens no.

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Film Photography

single frame: Ike & Jonesey’s

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The Wellington

The Wellington
Yashica Electro 35 GSN
Kodak Tri-X 400
2018

I was there the night The Wellington closed for good. It was just a couple weeks ago. And it was packed, just packed.

This was assuredly the smallest bar in Indianapolis’s Broad Ripple neighborhood, and perhaps in all of Indianapolis. I never measured, of course, but I bet it was no larger than my home’s kitchen and family room, combined.

A group of co-workers from three companies ago have met there the first Wednesday of the month for something like ten years. I’ve always been invited, but I usually had my sons on those Wednesdays and couldn’t go. Now that the parenting-time years are over I was starting to make it most Welly Wednesdays. And now it’s closed.

The gang will find some other Broad Ripple bar. But it won’t be the same.

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Film Photography

single frame: The Wellington

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Old Point Tavern

Old Point Tavern
Pentax ES II, 55mm f/1.8 SMC Takumar
Kodak Ektar 100
2015

I worked Downtown in 1995-1996, within walking distance of Massachusetts Avenue, which had only barely begun its revitalization then. Today, this avenue is one of Indianapolis’s shining stars, a destination for food, drinks and fun. In 1995, there were lots of vacant storefronts.

But in those days many longtime businesses still dotted Mass Ave. I lunched at the Old Point Tavern many times back then. Turns out it’s the second oldest tavern in Indianapolis, in operation since 1887.

Most of those old businesses have given way to of hip, cool bars, restaurants, and clubs in what is now a high-rent district. A few holdouts remain, including the Old Point Tavern. Today it’s well known for its delicious beef-and-bean chili. I also like to stop in for a whiskey these days — not because their selection is extensive, but because it’s the least expensive pour on Mass Ave. It’s not only the rents that have gotten expensive here.

Unfortunately, the Old Point will soon close. The current owners have had enough after 25 years. They also own the building, and will continue to own it as they lease this space to a restaurant operator who will open something else in this spot.

Film Photography, Photography

single frame: Old Point Tavern

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