The sidewalk all up and down Taylor from 4th Street to 5th Street is tore up and filled in with temporary asphault (looks like giant troughs of caviar in the sunset light) and there are large, square shaped iron slabs covering up holes underneath. Orange cones are stacked neatly by telephone poles, waiting to be used again tomorrow when construction starts back up.
Fortunately Jack's Bar & Lounge is on the other side of the street. ;)
After parking at Foster's Freeze again I took the time to look over this old Chevy truck that was painted a very bright shade of pink. I don't know how the hell that truck managed to pull off a masculine look, but it did.
I puzzled over this as I crossed the street to Jack's from the roughed up side of the block. I walked by Der Wienerschnitzel and saw this guy again who's there at least once a week, dressed in full on winter coat, hood and gloves. Every time I've seen him he's sitting at one of the side tables facing Taylor and reads a book with its pages held in place by two sturdy metal clamps, and always has a coffee (tea?) on his right hand side. I never see any DW food at his table.
A PG&E dump truck and trailer combo with a backhoe chained down on it rumbled by as I looked at the wall that is the west side of the building that houses Jack's and Amy's Beauty Salon, which is painted over in patches to cover up gang graffiti. I wondered if Amy would consent to having her wall done up like the Jack's (east-facing) wall is and if that might do something to mitigate the problem as I walked in the front door of the bar (see this link for photo on Yelp!).
Inside Aimee was tending. Must have been elven people there besides me. I said hello to Wes, Stephanie and the always energetic Holly, then took a seat at the bar and ordered up a PBR.
Wes, Holly and Stephanie left before all that long and I noticed Aimee was wearing a striped pink sweater whose colors perfectly matched those of the Victoria's Secret bag on the counter behind the bar, save that Aimee's stripes were horizontal and the bag's were vertical.
I'm not sure how we got on the subject, but all of a sudden Aimee and I were talking about friends of hers who'd spent New Years in Czechoslovakia (thank you, spell check). Over there you could buy alcohol from street vendors like you'd buy a hot dog in New York.
The kicker was her friends went to a castle where way back in the day the crypts below ran out of room faster than the dead could be intered, so the locals opted to make candelabras and chairs and whatnot out of the bones from the excess corpses. The way she told it, Aimee's friends said to her the place smelled just like you'd expect death to smell.
This guy came in later on and I got him up to speed on the creepy castle conversation. He responded by mentioning how Hitler had used human hair for lamp shades and as stuffing in the very first Volkswagens. I'm totally not googling that because it's too awesome a story to fact check.
Even crazier: I was on the phone later that night and told a friend the castle story, then she responded with the whole Hitler-Volkswagen thing....dude, twice in one night! Crazy, creepy and awesome.
All this time the Black Crows and Johnny Cash were playing and now that I think about it, it's funny how that music totally fit the conversations going on in the bar. Go figure.
I went outside for some fresh air and noticed the traffic was still real heavy on Taylor after sunset. Another dude came out with his cell phone glued to his ear and was halfway through a food order as he stopped to light a cigarette. Cigarette smoke was already thick in the air but I couldn't place the source and the wind/pressure/whatever must have shifted because all of a sudden it was like Jack's bar exhaled and I could totally smell the bar interior as I stood outside.
Anyway food-ordering-guy didn't stay at the bar all that long after he finished his call.
Back inside I sat down at my spot at the bar and noticed that from where I was at I could see all eleven of Aimee's pieces on the wall behind me in the mirrored glass. Was kinda cool to take it all in at once like that.
Keith -whom I'd met the last Sunday night after the Super Bowl ended- came over to say hello. He was hanging out at the bar with a buddy of his. I should have gone over to introduce myself but I didn't for some reason.
Keith told me about his idea for a kickball team he wants to put together. It'd be called "Just For Kicks" and have uniforms with "JFK High" on the front and everyone's player name on the back would be "Kennedy", which reminded me of how all the bank robbers in the movie Inside Man called each other by variations of the name Steve. Dude, where do I sign up?
After talking with Aimee about it, I'm writing all the Jack's links on future posts from this one forward so they point to Jack's Facebook page instead of their MySpace page. The Facebook page for Jack's has a schedule of all their upcoming events and better fits the type of good people that come to the bar.
You'll need a Facebook account to view their page, but signing up for Facebook is easy peasy.
Thanks Aimee as always for the excellent service and for the practical advice. Have a fun trip, too!
See you tomorrow at Jack's!