Mention Crest Tavern, or Crest, to a fellow Clintonvillite and you're guaranteed a strong facial expression. Some wince, some roll their eyes, surprisingly few react with approval. I'm not sure why.
I have lived 660 steps from their front door for the past 6 years and just visited for the first time several months ago. It doesn't have a reproduction of the Sistine Chapel celiling like Mt Royal Tavern in Baltimore nor is Rolling Rock as popular as it should be (Naty Light is the local favorite), but I have adopted it with all my heart.
When I feel the need to get the weight of the world off my shoulders, this is my escape. I get to socialize with the guys, something I have rarely done in life, but something I feel the need for now. Hanging with the regulars requires one to stare at a movie on TMC while bitching about a brake job out the corner of one's mouth to the dude (or dudette) next to you while listening to Craig, one of the owners.
Once, one of the patrons was sitting there with his 10 year-old daughter sitting next to Craig. A guy from the fooseball table yelled to Craig complaining about a table malfunction. Craig yelled across the bar and told the guy to "Call 911 and ask them if I give a f#ck?" That's Craig. So refreshing.
Patrons are largely regulars, but I visit early in the evening and just for a short spell. Once in a while though, a few hipster types will drop in; a little gang of 3-5 will clump together, creeping as a bunch, through the door giggling as they take in fodder for their blogs. All are welcome and I think they leave with a slightly better impression than when they came in.
Crest has wifi but don't worry about too many users clogging up bandwidth, most holster their devices or leave them in their trucks. They're not luddites, the jukebox is run via an iPad, it is simply not a heads down culture. The regulars are there to interact face to face. Compared to the current state of: coffee houses, supermarkets, restaurants, gyms, bus stops, weddings, grassy knolls, mid high-traffic intersection, soccer games, bar mitzvahs, lecture halls, playdates, funerals, kid bday parties, self-serve gas stations, to name a few, it's a welcome site to see people put their updates on hold and speak to each other.
Stop by sometime, I'll be 7th in from the far end nursing a Bell's 2 Hearted and not Tweeting.
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