Two summers ago I was chosen to serve on the jury of a double-murder trial. For a week and a half I would sit in the courtroom each day listening to gruesome details. As soon as every day was over, I'd bolt into the early evening sunshine and head straight for the Bannock Street Garage
The Garage is one of the darkest bars in the city. I could hardly make out the bartender as I squinted through the windows from outside. Even walking in, the regulars remained silhouettes until my eyes adjusted. It was a visual metaphor I enjoyed at the time because at the end of those days I felt like a shadow of myself.
My friend worked across the street, and we'd fill the counter with empty beer cans. Jury duty didn't pay much, but Old Style was $1.50. The bartender served the cans from a converted pop machine.
Returning recently, I was happy to see my shadowy bar still as dark from the outside and friendly on the inside. Another solo drinker squinted at his laptop, cruising craigslist for a car. A group at the end of the bar tried to remember the theme song to DuckTales
. While the bartender described her family's attempts at having lobster races over the holidays, I was contemplating a guest list for my own wedding and slurping down the same canned Old Styles.
It turns out the darkness of the Garage is just as good for getting through the bad days as reflecting on the good ones.
The Garage's happy hour runs Monday through Friday, from 2-6 p.m. Cans like Schlitz, Old Style, PBR, Hamm's, Stroh's, and more are $1.50, Bud and Bud Light drafts are $2, and wells are $3. They also have a late-night happy hour seven days a week, from 10 p.m.-close, with $2 Bud and Bud Light drafts and $3 JÃ¤germeister.
1015 Bannock St., 303-534-7000