The Bar Tab: Entertaining episode enlivens tavern visit


Mr. Bitters and Olive

Fiddler’s Green, once found, proved to be a not unpleasant establishment.

Where is Fiddler’s Green? After hearing relentless media promotions singing this tavern’s praises, we assumed it would be easy to find.

We were wrong. Even with GPS, we spent some minutes circling the area where the bar was supposed to be, then finally arrived at Fiddler’s Green, located at 5104 Southgate Drive, hidden within a maze of hotels, warehouses and industrial buildings.

Let’s begin with a short history lesson: In folklore, Fiddler’s Green is supposedly some kind of wonderful afterlife for sailors where everyone is happy and fiddlers play non-stop. This is hardly our idea of paradise, but to each his own. Thankfully, fiddles and other mythical elements were absent from the bar’s decor, which is mostly a generic sports bar with some Irish elements thrown in.

When we entered Fiddler’s Green, the bar stools were occupied, so we settled into one of the high tops that lined the walls. Most patrons appeared to be regulars and seemed to be comfortable in their assigned seats.

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Random college memorabilia adorns the walls—we suspect the teams displayed are the alma maters of the owners/bartenders, since we couldn’t identify any pattern or explanation for the selections.

A large, stenciled poem about the mythical Fiddler’s Green is etched on the wall and some Irish decorations, maps and beer signs fill the remaining wall space. There is also a disconcerting number of clocks littered throughout the bar—we counted at least four—and all displayed wildly different times.

At Fiddler’s Green, apparently, it’s always 5 o’clock somewhere.

We were soon greeted by a pleasant young waitress, who took our order—bourbon rocks and a draft. Their draft selection was OK and featured a few local and seasonal micros as well as the typical macros. Guinness was available on what appeared to be nitro—which we consider a no-brainer in any self-respecting Irish bar.

We sat and took the place in while waiting for our drinks—which seemed to take longer than it should have, given the light business. Our waitress proved to be surprisingly honest, and came by to tell us that she had put the drink order in and the bartender would get to it when she “felt like it.” She seemed to be engaged in a rather boisterous bull session with a few regulars at the bar.

We waited for our drinks … looked over the menu … and waited …

We noticed that all of the drink orders were being filled by the single bartender. This proved to be a bit of a roadblock, as the bartender seemed to work on her own timeline regardless of demand. Perhaps she is also responsible of setting the clocks.

After our drinks were finally served, we decided to order some fries. The kitchen proved to be faster than the bar; the fries were served quickly and steaming hot. They were the typical crinkle-cut frozen variety, which is fine enough for bar fare. The fry seasoning was interesting; we couldn’t place the flavor but it was not unpleasant. Overall, the portion was generous and they came with ranch dressing (heavy with dill). No complaints here.

When our drinks were nearly empty, we were approached by another waitress. Our former server had taken on some other tables, and we appreciated that the staff was observant enough to notice the needs of all customers, regardless of table assignments. We ordered another round.

Again, the bottleneck at the bar came into play. Perhaps a lesson in multitasking would be a sound business investment.

When our glasses were empty and the fries had been consumed, we decided it was time to conclude our visit.

Once we sat down to write this review, however, we realized we lacked enough detail to give our readers a full description of Fiddler’s Green. In an effort to be thorough we returned a few weeks later for further observation, and we’re glad we did.

Again, we were greeted by a nice waitress, who immediately took our order—bourbon neat and a glass of merlot. The response: “What’s neat?” At least she asked instead of assuming. She went over to the bar to convey our order and was sent back immediately to card us.

We sat back and decided to take in the crowd. This, readers, is when we witnessed one of the funnier things we have seen in our bar outings. Sitting on top of the bar was an open bottle of red wine; the cork had been pulled but the bottle seemed mostly full.

Two men were talking about the cost of hunting tags when one grabbed the bottle, removed the cork and filled a paper Pepsi cup (which was equipped with a plastic lid and straw) with a healthy pour from the bottle. Olive was dismayed at this choice of wine vessel: a chardonnay glass would be excusable, but a paper cup and a straw? Sacrilege.

Olive immediately informed Mr. Bitters of the transgression, which only raised more questions: Did the patron order a bottle or was he stealing some wine from a bottle misplaced by the wait staff?

If he ordered it, did they run out of wine glasses or does he prefer wax-lined paper cups? Is he actually using the straw to drink wine?

We decided to keep observing. After a few minutes the man grabbed his bottle and Pepsi cup and made for the door. This led to even more questions: Did he suddenly have to leave for an emergency, or is this how he decided to procure wine for the evening?

While Fiddler’s does not advertise as a package liquor store, it might be something it should do. Their prices are reasonable for bar drinking, but paying 18 bucks for a bottle that would cost well under 10 in a grocery store is hardly a wise use of resources.

We are in a recession after all. Perhaps the gentleman lacked a corkscrew and could not stomach the twist-off varieties at the Holiday station down the street.

As our visit seemed to be winding down, Mr. Bitters decided to test our servers with one last request. When our waitress returned to offer a second round, Mr. Bitters asked to surprised with a cocktail. He assured the waitress he wouldn’t be picky, but he didn’t want anything too sweet. The waitress asked repeatedly (and suspiciously) if he was serious; reassured, she set off.

She sought the advice of two customers sitting at the bar, and at one point in the heated debate that followed, a gentleman made a suggestion that elicited cringes from the two women. Eventually, she presented Mr. Bitters with a vodka cranberry with a splash of pineapple juice. We deemed the choice safe, but with a slightly interesting twist. We were pleased.

Drinks emptied, we paid our tab and set off. Our job was done. We were happy to note that the bottleneck at the bar we had previously experienced was no longer in evidence.

Pleasant, attentive servers
Good drink selection
Decent food – although strictly bar fare

(One) bartender doesn’t understand the “service” portion of “service industry”
Customers should be prepared to explain their orders
Nothing extraordinary

Previous reviews

Chapter 1The Squire Lounge.

Chapter 2The Alpine Casino.

Chapter 3Buck’s Bar.

Chapter 4Stadium Club.

Chapter 5Bones Arcade.

Chapter 6Southern Empire Emporium.

Chapter 7The Holiday Inn.

Chapter 8The Tap Inn.

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