Friday, August 19, 2011

Used A Little Too Much Force

Right outside of Delacroix

There's a bar outside of Boston I went to a few times.

They had a crappy beer selection, floors that hadn't been washed in decades, and three-dollar cheeseburgers that weren't so horrible if you had enough crappy beer.

And they had a jukebox.

Where every single record was by Bob Dylan.

"You wanna hear Hendrix do 'All Along the Watchtower' you go somewhere else," the bartender explained. "You wanna hear the Byrds sing Dylan? You go to Cambridge and go to one of them bars there. You wanna hear the classics -- this is your home."

His dad started the bar in the 50s, and he took over in the early 70s. "First thing I got was the jukebox," he said. "Some of the regulars moved on, but we got new regulars who kept coming back."

The bartender held court some nights at the bar. Entertaining us with stories of his travels, the women he'd met, and the jealous men who'd chased him out of more than a few towns.

One night, the bartender said, Dylan himself showed up. There's a photo of Dylan by the jukebox, he told me. But he never put the photo up.

As the years went by, the regulars got older. The late-night stories grew more infrequent. And the jukebox (still stocked with Dylan) was silent more often than not.

For years, I'd drop into the bar whenever I was in town just to see that nothing had changed (except the price for the cheeseburgers, which started to creep up).

Last time, I was there, the bar was gone. It was an Applebees now.

No jukebox, no stories.

And while there are Applebees all over the place, there's no Dylan in Applebees.


Holly A Hughes said...

But no, I DID hear a Dylan song in an Applebee's a couple weeks ago.

Although it was a bizarre enough occurrence that I actually made note of it.

And this Applebee's had won multiple awards as Best Franchisee in the Region. So I guess quality will always rise to the top.

Alex said...

I stand corrected! :)