October 29th, 2005

Art Imitates Life

Rome Girl read all of Bukowski's "Post Office" back to back in roughly 3 hours this morning and was laughing out loud and thanking me for introducing her to this author the entire time.

Afterwards she said she was happy to be dating a smart sensitive guy who understands her taste in fiction.

I wonder -- how did I know she'd find an underpaid, hyperbole prone, egocentric, drunken writer who loves pussy and pisses people off amusing?


P.S. Reader's Choice again tomorrow, either Drunken Ex Pat Writer or Rome Girl profile. Both have BIG DALLAS/X-FILES SEASON FINALE TYPE SURPRISES IN THEM. Or else I could profile The Bar Itself. I have all three items prepared so it's really up to you.

The Bar Itself

Fitzpatrick's Irish Pub was born on Nov. 22, 1995 in what at the time was one of the worst most derelict sections of Montpellier. The Place St. Come which today sports a ton of nice restaurants, happy people and beautiful stone walls used to be where the junkies, bums and vermin of the city staked their claim on their own bit of hell.

Then, Lurch's mother and father came to town, bought one of the abandoned buildings, kicked out the squatters and tried to build something out of nothing.

To say they were successful is an understatment.

You can look at the Fitzpatrick's link on this page, but that won't give you a really good idea what the place looks like. For reasons known only to Lurch the photos there are taken in poor lighting and don't show any people inside - and the people are what make Fitzpatrick's a living, breathing thing.

You also won't get a sense of the huge terrace that sits out front - room for 25 tables where you can beat the summer heat with a cold pint of Kro or a pastis a l'eau adn feel like responsibilities have left you behind forever.

Inside the bar there are a horde of nooks and crannies - so much so that after visiting me for more than a year and a half, Rome Girl just found out about one little hideaway table three weeks ago.

There are two main rooms, five televisions (for Football and Rugby watching only) and a series of pseduo communist flyers advertising joining the "collective" of the Fitzpatrick's Football Club (run by Alex Fuller who designed this page.)

While the beer is expensive, you get what you pay for - a sense of community and belonging found in few places of the world. We all live in very tiny apartments in town - Fitzpatrick's is our living room. The bar staff are more often than not found there when they are not working. Some of us (Drunken Ex Pat Writer included) have our mail sent there rather than to our often nebulous real addresses.

During the day the place is home to good coffee, bad food and stories about drunken adventures from the night before. At night the adventures begin here with a bevy of people pre-gaming for whatever madness lies ahead.

The walls are covered with iconic images of Bram Stoker, James Connolley, Irish Pounds and traditional Guinness posters.

The one constant is the awful, awful music. While I love everything else about Fitzpatrick's I don't think that anyone would argue with the assessment that after two nights here one never need hear "Whiskey in the Jar-O" ever again in their lives. I dare say that no bar in Ireland has played any of these tunes since roughly 1962.

This is not a cocktail bar. The rule is that you can get beer, shots, Irish Coffee and "one mix" drinks - meaning gin and tonic, rum and coke, etc... God help the man who walks in here and asks for a seabreeze or an "Irish Car Bomb Shot."

In six years of near constant residence I have only seen two people 86d from this place for any length of time (in full disclosure one of them was my brother) and both of them had it coming.

For the most part no one creates any problems here (the size of the bartenders and their friends have something to do with this) and Rome Girl says the tunes may also contribute:

"Perhaps the cheesy music calms the natives," she commented.

This is where people who have no friends come to feel accepted. Where people without families find new ones. Where sins of the past are washed away in a tall, brown glass.

Raise a shot of Red Breast to Fitzpatrick's Irish Pub!