Brunch was long over by the time he got to the bar. When he walked in, he had to close his eyes for a minute so they could adjust. Although it was gray outside, it was still daylight, and the bar was dark like a bar should be.
He stumbled a bit into the wall. Maybe, though, he was pushed a little as his party crowded into the small square space at the front. There were a few of them and there were already a few in the square.
He wasn’t so interested in his group as they were getting settled. He figured that they would take care of themselves. He looked up at the wall behind the bar, with the shelves of bottles of different shapes and colors. They were mostly the same size, though. He pushed his copper hair away from his eyes. He needed to squint a bit to look at the options.
It was still early, there was room at the bar. A couple cashed out with the bartender and took their pints to a table. There was more room now.
He wasn’t very tall, so it was a bit of an effort to climb up on the barstool. To make it even more complicated, the stools were fairly light aluminum with tiny backs. They were sturdy enough when you sat in them, but getting into them could be a challenge for the clumsy. The bar itself was old wood, as were the floors, the benches along the wall and the tables. The chairs were a new addition that didn’t make much sense.
He scooched his chair in a bit and put his elbow up on the bar. He glanced at his squad for a second, but they were still disorganized. The bartender came up and moved the Collins glass from in front of him. He looked at her, but didn’t seem ready to order.
He looked down to the darker side of the bar, where people were coming in and out of the kitchen in a very narrow passage. The bar itself had a drawbridge, but the bartender ducked underneath to come through except when she was carrying food. People to his left, around the bend of the bar were looking at him. He didn’t notice them, but they were very interested in him.
After another minute of family kerfuffle, the mom looked around confused and then looked up. He was sitting up high enough that he was almost at her eye level. She looked at the people at the bar a little sheepishly and shook her head. His hipster dad laughed as he scooped him out of the barstool. He grabbed the adorable little sister by the hand and the family disappeared into the restaurant part of the bar.
The people around the bend of the bar were disappointed. They were waiting for him to order. And they were all ready to buy this first-timer a drink.