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Closing Time

July 17, 2015

There was a time that I would stick around to close down bars, somewhere in the early part of my 20s. I’m not entirely sure when that ended. But end it did. Maybe it had something to do with life on the West Coast.

I vaguely remember seeing people in Berkeley lining up in the morning, bright eyed and bushy tailed, eager for brunch. It seemed like madness to me. There was the willingly and happily standing in line part, which I still struggle with today. But even worse was the notion of waking up early on a weekend to do such a thing. Of course, if you weren’t closing down bars, it wouldn’t be quite as difficult.

Eventually I succumbed to the allure of brunch and gave up my bar closing ways.

Looking back, one thing I always took for granted was that I knew when the bar was going to close. 2a was closing. Last call was earlier. And after a certain point the flood lights went on to drive people out. Those who still lingered were then cleared out by the bouncers.

Today, I’m a little grumpy, because it seems the rules have changed.

Last night at Tavern Time I got a text from Mrs. Fussy. The power was out at home, but expected to be back on by 11:15p. That put a wrench in my plans, because evening is when I typically write, and I’m approaching my weekly deadline for the Weekly Yelp. Eeek.

But I really didn’t have time to panic about the work. I was too busy panicking about the food in the deep freeze and in the refrigerator. Were they going to make it through? Would the freezer beef need to be defrosted in short order and all cooked over the course of the next week? Egads! And what about my precious stock cubes?

Anyhow, I typically write quite late at night, so I decided to make a après-tavern grocery run. But when I arrived back home, the electric garage door still would not open, and I didn’t have my house keys.

Fortunately, I was able to break into my own house, steal my own computer, and grab my key.

The big question was, where could I go at 11p at night, and still get at least an hour’s work done? WiFi was also needed to complete my project. Amazingly, it turns out that the World of Beer in Crossgates Mall is open until 2a on Thursday nights, and also has free WiFi. They also have beer! It was like a dream come true.

I get there around 11:30p and ask the woman behind the bar if in fact they do have internet. And they did. And I asked to confirm the closing time too. Here’s where it gets weird.

“We close based on volume.”

And I get it. Business has an ebb and flow. And it’s not like the suburban mall is going to get some unexpected influx of business late at night. But that meant my time at the bar was pretty much at the mercy of the other patrons.

Instead of sticking around writing until 2a, the place was closed well before 12:30a. I’ve mentioned before that I’m a pretty slow drinker, so I also had to rush through my beer in order to finish it in time.

You know my mantra?
Under-promise and overdeliver.

If World of Beer would have said that they close at midnight, but sometime stay open later if there are still some people hanging around, I’d have been thrilled to get in most of the hour of writing that I did. As it stands now, I’m clearly frustrated with the notion of posted closing times that aren’t respected.

Of course, I could still just be agitated by the defrosting meat and softened ice cream.

The upside is that I can’t think of anything else that’s open later on a weeknight with WiFi. Professor Java’s now closes at 10p. My local Starbucks closes at 11:30p. So in the end World of Beer may be my new go to place for writing time. Especially since if they close early, I can finish my work on a bench in the empty mall riding off their WiFi like some high tech vagrant.

Hey, when the power goes out, one has to get scrappy.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. July 17, 2015 1:21 pm

    I hope you finally got your power back!

  2. July 17, 2015 2:21 pm

    Sounds like they’re following the closing-early business model favored by a number of local businesses.

    The coffee shop culture in the Capital Region is truly bizarre and pathetic, really. If you’re in Troy, the supposed bastion of hipness for our area, there isn’t a coffee shop (Dunkin’ Donuts doesn’t count) open past 6.

    Maybe I’m just feeling a bit salty thinking about it because I’m currently in Montreal, where there’s a nice 24-hour coffee shop (along with three other really good ones open late) on the block where I’m staying.

  3. July 17, 2015 5:39 pm

    That new Vine and Tap place in Delmar advertises that it “closes when it’s time to close” or something like that on its website. Thought that was funny.

  4. July 18, 2015 5:44 pm

    One more thing I’ll never understand about Albany. In most cities I’ve lived in, posted hours are adhered to… that way patrons have some idea when they show up if the place is going to be open. It’s a sort of strangeness sort of like taking a cab around here and finding that you’re sharing it with three people you don’t know and the cabbie is going to two destinations before dropping you off (but of course you can’t split the fare).

  5. July 21, 2015 1:05 pm

    I’m making coffee at home now because I’m in a slow fit of pique about closing times. I don’t need them, they need me. If they want to toss me out because they’re not making the volume they want at that hour, ok – but don’t expect me to go crawling back in the morning. I like my own coffee well enough.

  6. July 23, 2015 7:59 am

    I hate that, too, as someone who has often put off dinner until rather late. If you close “whenever,” I have no idea if I can actually make it there for dinner on any given night.

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