For All Nails #0: Drinking Guide to Burgoyne
by Sir Francis Burdett
- Chapter V: Getting Properly P***ed
After finding suitable lodging (chapter III) and a warm hearty meal (chapter IV) it would now be a fine time for a visitor to Burgoyne to set out in search of a good stiff drink. Remember to start out early; as much as it may shock travelers from the Continent, North American public houses close at 11:00 pm.
It is an oft told remark that the best drink to be found in Burgoyne is to be found in the private clubs and friendly societies that blanket the capital. This is entirely true. The wine selection at the Young Liberal Society is indeed excellent. The port at Webster Memorial Hall is mighty fine. The liquor flows as free as a mountain stream at the Capital Club. But it is not b***dy likely that you'll be showing your drunken face in those estimable watering holes if you are reading this d***ed guide series, is it? We mere mortals amble forwards in search of a good public house or night spot to quench our thirst. The following fine establishments are either local landmarks or have very considerate credit arrangements with this reviewer.
As noted earlier Burgoyne is most broadly divided into three areas (and states of mind): the old Downtown (Council Square, the Diplomatic district, the Administrative district, etc), the University, and the "Real Burgoyne" (so named by its inhabitants - i.e. the people of Burgoyne other than the students or the politicians). Drinking life is no different. The politicians are leery of the students and totally ignorant of the townies. The students are contemptuous of the politicians and fear the townies. The Burgoynians despise the politicians and revile the students. And all is right with Creation. The three classes do not mix socially. But as a man (or woman) of no fixed address, dear reader, you are well placed to sample the delights of each mode of Burgoyne. Drink to your hearts content -- until they throw you out, that is.
Historic Burgoyne situated as it is at the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela at the head of the mighty Ohio River, naturally forms a triangle. Streets radiate upwards from the Burgoyne Monument in Point Burgoyne Park. Local governance is a mind numbingly complicated affair in Burgoyne with its multiple layers of jurisdiction and complex borough system, but the area in question in this section is that under the purview of the Lord Mayor. His writ is bounded on the north by the Allegheny and Winfield Scott Boulevard meeting at Burgoyne Point with Albany Boulevard and the Monongahela. Going southeast on Albany until you reach Hanover Street which going northeast, itself intersects Winfield Scott at Britannic Design Circle. Within this "Golden Triangle" one would find the Councilmen, Statesmen, Diplomats, Administrators and other objectionables who deem to run this globe. We shall go forth in search of where they rent beer.
Starting our inebriation tour on the Grand Council front steps (the centre of the Universe as they'd have it) proceed south a block past the National Aeronautical Collection turning onto Fourth Avenue and you will come upon The Crown.
- The Crown - 219 4th Avenue - tel 32 9546 - credit can be arranged.
The Crown is one of the oldest public houses in Burgoyne, having received its licence in 1840, and has been under the ownership of the Bromwell family for the last hundred years. In honour of the family's contribution to the Confederation (and the long sighted view it takes toward councilmanic bar tabs), the Bromwells have received their fair share of gongs over the decades. I daresay there are few places where you are passed your grog by a baronet, as the present Sir Michael Bromwell is often still found behind the bar.
The Crown is the closest pub to the Houses of the Grand Council and is often filled to the brim with Councilmen. The Senate is rumoured to hold session in the upper gallery on occasion. The overall feeling one gets from The Crown is one of "power at rest" or at least "power under the influence of a few".
The whole atmosphere of the Crown would be insufferable if it were not for the fact that it has the best d***ed cider in all of Burgoyne. After a few pints of Crown Cider on tap, FN2 even the Manitoban Councilman next to you may begin to make sense.
From 4th Avenue proceed to Haven Street and then south past the National War Museum and the Boulevard of the Confederation to 1st Avenue and Haven.
- Louis XX Tavern - 110 Haven Street - tel 36 1003 - cash only
The Louis Tavern is just south of the Boulevard of the Confederation, Burgoyne's Embassy Row. The Louis Tavern was (or is, depending on your source) the embassy building for the French government-in-exile. Which French government-in-exile is an intriguing question. Lawsuits are continually swirling around the ownership of the building. On a given visit the royal ensign may be flying, on the next a diligent republican ethos may be in force. One thing the French can agree on is a good wine and the Louis Tavern cellars have some of the best plonk in town at certainly some of the best prices.
Continuing south on Haven one block to Albany Boulevard, near the Haven Street Bridge.
- Kolker's - 25 Haven Street - tel 36 0957 - credit available
Kolker's has a definite neighbourhood bar character. Relatively narrow space but a long bar with a bank of cosy booths opposite. Nice tap selection (Guinness, which is surprising hard to find in Burgoyne, and of course Barrington's). Nothing particularly remarkable except for the barely concealed fact that the bar is a noted spy haunt. Is that buxom young woman in the corner giving you the eye actually a Mexican agent? Is that fellow with the over enthusiastic laugh a German operative? I can say no more, Mr. Liddy has sworn me to secrecy.
Cutting along Cherry Way to First Avenue through to Gallivan Street. Go north past the failed architectural effort that is the Mexican Embassy to Third Avenue near the Royal Mint.
- Club 168 - 168 Gallivan Street - tel 36 4013 - credit advanced
If you had begun your tour early enough as I advised you may again be feeling slightly peckish. Club 168 has some of the best vinegar soaked chips you will ever find. And their Bangers and Mash is just like what your mum would make (if she owned a pub). Wash it down with bottles of Straub, a fine local brew and you will be ready to continue your assault.
At this point you are probably too full and too many sheets to the wind to walk, so catch the Gallivan Street Trolley at Third Avenue. Costs 40 pence at last count. Going north you can wave at Government House as you pass (you can just make it out around Trinity Cathedral). Who knows, he might be in? Get off at the Victoria Avenue stop. Walk west one block on Victoria Avenue.
- The Greyhound - 720 Victoria Avenue - tel 34 6391 - credit advanced
The Greyhound is a club that has fallen on hard times. For years a private club, as the centre of the business district moved more east than north, The Greyhound steadily lost members. A few years after the Global War, The Greyhound lost its private license and was closed for more than ten years. But it was reopened in 1966 as a public house. A bit faded and frayed around the edges, the main reason to stop by is for the steady bar tender, Johnny Hrbk. Widely recognized as one of the best in Burgoyne, John mixes a stellar Maurer cocktail FN3. Just remember to ask for the best Virginia whisky rather than scotch for authenticity's sake.
A few doors down
- Victoria Avenue Saloon Incorporated - 700 Victoria Avenue - tel 34 7367 - cash only
To be visited mainly for the shock value of seeing a nearly authentic Vandalian saloon sited right on Victoria Avenue in the middle of oh so refined Burgoyne. Many westerners make this dusty saloon a home away from home while in the capital. Well, the whisky's cheap and as long as you stay out of range of the spittoons and remember that the stuffed steers heads on the wall are not supposed to talk back, you'll get along, little doggie.
Rambling west on Victoria Avenue making a pit stop at the edge of the National Financial Administration building, continue to the five way intersection of 8th Street, Dickinson Place, Clinton Street, and Victoria.
- Concordia Lounge - 605 Victoria Avenue - no tel - cash only
The first odd thing about the Concordia Lounge is that it is not in fact on Concordia Avenue but is one block south on Victoria. The second odd thing is that there is no readily apparent entrance. Visitors just seem to find egress mostly by accident. The third odd thing is that in the Concordia Lounge, time appears to come to have come to a halt. It is always five minutes to eleven and all the clocks inside the lounge agree. But if enough patrons believe it then it must be so. The beer, ale and liquor selection are barely adequate. But with whispered Orange Order ties, it is best not to complain while partaking of the Concordia's hospitality.
Next – On to the University
Forward to FAN #1: "For All Nails".
Return to For All Nails.