When I first moved to Atlanta close to five years ago, batnandu
was my guide to everything. In the first two weeks alone, I ate out every night, went rock climbing at least twice, stayed up well past 2:00 AM on weekdays, and pretty much did so much that one night I exasperatedly said to him, "Dude? Ever since I moved up here, we have done nothing but do shit!"
Our most common hangout, however, was DuPree's, a pool hall located about 5 miles from my apartment at the time, and about 1 mile from my place now. I started as the friend of a regular, not necessarily moving in the same circles as the bartenders and managers.
Over time, I would change the way I would frequent DuPree's--from playing darts to playing the occasional pool game to playing in one of the house teams; from learning various pool variations on the house table to skipping pool altogether for games of Spades and Hearts or mock-Poker games in the so-called "dining area"--it didn't matter what we were doing. The common thread was that we were pretty much always doing amongst the patrons and workers at DuPree's.
After rock climbing weekly with one of the owners of the bar, we obviously made DuPree's a favorite after-climb stop. When I was unemployed for nine months, I helped him open another bar in another part of town. The SGITW used to work there. She took me along on a short vacation to the Florida panhandle. All the people who got me into my poker obsession were regular patrons. Through this place, I have come to know some of the most varied and talented and dear characters I will ever know.
So tonight I mourn the passing of DuPree's, on the final night it lived as I knew it. While the most of us laughed and joked as we sat at the bar watching C and K calculate their earnings, I could feel a palpable sense of loss from each person there. Some voiced it, some didn't. We all knew there was no coming back after we shut the door.
The bartenders are gone, the managers away. Most of the pictures of the mischief, the dogs, the cats, the babies have been taken from the walls. We will no more gather in the same smoke-filled space to play Gin or ogle patrons or throw water balloons at one another.
The new ownership's penchant for Springer-esque drama has robbed the place of any sort of joy (and indeed, monetary compensation) for the workers.
And so they, and consequently we, shall move on.
But not without some sadness.Current Mood: