– by Jake Ten Pas
You know that story about the Round Table of Arthurian legend arising from the knights demanding to all be treated equally? Total nonsense. I wasn’t there or anything – I had a previous commitment at Morgana’s place – but I can tell you exactly what happened. It went a little something like this:
Arthur: Can you please pass the gravy?
Sir Lamorak: (who was sitting at the opposite end of a very long table): Eh? You like to shop at Old Navy?
Arthur: No, the gravy. The gravy! Can you pass it? And what is this Ye Olde Navy of which you speak?
Sir Lamorak: Inexpensive yet chic? I quite agree. I got this tunic there in several fun summer colors just last week.
Arthur: Did you just call me weak? Guards!
And after Sir Lamorak was beheaded (this is only one version of the story, mind you), Arthur decided that it’s just much easier to have a conversation if everybody is seated in a circle. A large circular table was constructed, gravy was passed without bloodshed, and they all lived happily ever after.
Or is it?
Last week, we hosted our weekly social media Gabalot, better known as PR 3.0, at 442 Soccer Bar on Hawthorne. It’s quickly become one of our favorite places to host the event for a number of reasons, all of which could prove instructive to other bars, pubs and nosheries looking to attract the patronage of businessy-type people such as us. So, without any further ado, a list of five reasons why we frequent 442:
1) They’ve got a great circular seating area where roughly a dozen folks could sit, hear each other talk and keep a lively conversation going between them. Places that only have long, skinny tables simply will not work for a good group discussion. They end up breaking up into individual conversations about good TV shows, as opposed the big, dynamic group discussion about TV shows we prefer.
2) They play great jazz music in there, but they understand how to work the volume knob. Few people on Earth are more obsessed with music than I am, but there’s just something about being forced to scream like a character in a natural disaster movie to be heard that tends to distract from the finer points of a good confab. Keeping the music at a reasonable volume encourages your customers to enjoy each other in addition to your tunes.
3) The bartender, who I assume is also the owner, is a total character. He refers to everybody as either “Pretty lady” or “Nice guy,” and he is always friendly and welcoming. Big groups tend to spend a decent amount of money, and his strategy is endlessly more effective than that of some other bars, where you’re treated like yuppie scum if you walk in with a brief case or without a mustache and sarcastic T-shirt.
4) 442 features tasty Bosnian food. While this isn’t directly related to us holding our meetings there, it doesn’t hurt. And if you like to watch soccer games (Personally, I do not, but my coworker Erin is an aficionado), I’d imagine they go way better with Cevapi than hot dogs.
5) 442 has both a full bar and a killer selection of European beer. Normally, I only drink bourbon, but when you have the option of drinking a giant frosty mug of draught beer from the homeland of the owner of the bar – or thereabouts – I highly recommend it. And yes, I realize that any domestic beer is probably from the homeland of the owner of most U.S. bars, but now you’re just being difficult. Finally, unlike point number four, point number five IS directly related to us holding our meetings there.
Really this time.
Unless it isn’t.