Much time has been spent exploring the immediate area surrounding my apartment, either Downtown or at The Pike Long Beach. During my first week here, I was willing to find any excuse to avoid my new home while it was barren of furniture or groceries. Even now that I have a place to sit and eat, I’ve preferred to be a Party of One rather than attempting to cook for one.

After wandering the streets and peeking in windows and scouting the “scene” and deciding on a place to eat, the next and most difficult step is finding a place to sit. I’ll breeze past the hostess stand asking if it is “open seating at the bar” and make my way there before hearing their response. If there is a spot, it may be next to that couple playing kissy face or near the town drunk who has spent his entire afternoon pounding Budweiser or at the open spot where servers exchange paperwork for libations. Once I have commandeered a place to sit, the next challenging measure is attracting the barkeeper’s attention. No, I’m not meeting someone. No, she isn’t in the bathroom. No, my friend isn’t running late. Yes, I am here by myself and would like to sample your finest meats and cheeses.

I have had various degrees of success sitting at the bar by myself. I’ve indulged in delicious meals and consumed a variety of local brews and well-crafted cocktails. Some bartenders realize that I’m the new kid in town and make time for small talk. Others wonder why no one ever showed up to fill the empty bar stool nearby.

Beachwood BBQ & Brewing: This was perhaps my most awkward evening as Party of One. The bar was full with no seat to be found so the hostess found me a table. Right next to the hostess stand and closest to the door. I waited. I wondered. I considered leaving. I checked my phone to pretend like someone was meeting me. I checked again. I should leave. I should stay. I should hustle to the bar and take the newly vacated seat! Once seated, it was a struggle to be served. Thankfully I had spent plenty of time online early in the day and then again at the restaurant and knew what to order. I would have the brisket and pulled pork and spicy sage glazed carrots and vanilla scented pecan yams, then wash it all down with an Alpha Galactic and a Foam top. I would later ask if I could be rolled home in a wheelbarrow.

The Stave: I have been to this spot on the Promenade twice and sat on the same seat each time. The first time I sampled a whiskey flight and was courageous enough to exchange numbers with a dude. The second time I wandered over for Oregon football action and tried the hotty toddy, among other concoctions. The bartenders here are friendly and conversational and willing to make suggestions. I enjoyed an Eagle Rare and Maker’s 46 on the rocks per her recommendation.

Yardhouse: Rumor has it that this is the original location for this chain. I knew it was a California thing, and had frequented The Glen when wanting to try beers I hadn’t otherwise heard of before. The bar was jammed for Black Wednesday and the only open spot was in the “dump area” and not suitable for eating. Bro bartender hooked me up with an open bar stool and watched as I buried my face in a plate of happy hour nachos and worked my way down the extensive beer list.


Tequila Jack’s: TJ’s has previously been mentioned in this space, but its worthy of a repeat because this is a preferred destination for Party of One. Jack’s is on a good spot along the harbor in Shoreline Village and has a great late night menu of small plates and margaritas. I haven’t frequented enough (yet) to know either bartender by name, but both are cordial enough to at least serve with a smile.

Broadway Pizza & Grill: Ultimately I didn’t have all that much to be loaded on the moving truck to California, but one thing I was sure to bring from home was my tradition of Sunday Night Pizza. I had done take-out and delivery, but this was a dine-in experience made awkward by the overzealous waiter. I just wanted to have my BBQ chicken pizza (w/ red peppers, cilantro, and corn!) and Saint Archer Blonde Ale and watch meaningless Sunday Night Football without interference. Broadway is worth a return visit, but perhaps with someone else to act buffer if the same waiter is employed.

Rock Bottom Brewery: Why is this place always so crowded?! Thankfully I had not yet eaten dinner at 10pm on a Friday night and the happy hour work crowd had dissipated. I was able to find a seat near the tap and got plenty of attention from the bartender. I first wondered why the local was so drunk and unaware of personal space, before joining him in a similar predicament later in the evening. It seemed the bar was lined with other lonely men, spaced two bar stools apart, each with their own story of how they had recently moved to town. After only eating half of an awful turkey burger, I drank the rest of my dinner, sampling whatever brews she gave me a taste of and whatever shots were “extra.” This was a night to be thankful for getting home safely and without a tattoo from the parlor off Ocean.



Why Is a Liquor’s Proof Double Its Percentage Alcohol by Volume?

As any high schooler who has incisively compared bottles in his or her parents’ liquor cabinet can tell you, a spirit’s proof is exactly twice as much as its percentage of alcohol by volume. Why bother using this 0-200 scale? Because history, of course.

“Proof,” as it’s used in regards to booze, harkens back to when traders would have to literally prove that their hooch was the real deal. According to the University of Cincinnati’s William B. Jensen, in 16th century England, traders would drench a pellet of gunpowder in liquor to determine the spirit’s potency. “If it was still possible to ignite the wet gunpowder, the alcohol content of the liquor was rated above proof and it was taxed at a higher rate, and vice versa if the powder failed to ignite.”

While the term “proof” stuck, in America, the standard it refers to has nothing to do with gunpowder. Around 1848, 50% alcohol by volume was chosen as a baseline and 100 was used as its corresponding proof. Thus, the proof is double the ABV.

In other countries, other proof systems are used. For example, in 1816 the U.K. started to use gravity as their standard. The Customs and Excise Act states that 100 proof liquors are “those in which the weight of the spirits is 12/13 the weight of an equal volume of distilled water at 51° F (11° C).” The proof then comes out to be about 1.75 times the alcohol by volume percentage. All that math could drive someone to drink.

(via Mental Floss)


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