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Raise the Bar

08/02/2017 | By John Cumbelich

A friend recently called and asked me to meet after work at a bar. I was pleased to comply, because there’s a great bar in a nice restaurant right across the street from our office.

Such a request used to be so straightforward. No thinking required. Just walk across the street and sidle up to the bar. Modern retail however has greatly complicated this simple pleasure.

“Oh, not that bar” he said, slightly amused.

“Um, uh…” I fumbled. He didn’t really strike me as a wine bar type of guy…I wondered…what other bar could he be thinking of, then it hit me. “Oh, that sushi bar around the corner, sure, that would great.”

An audible chuckle crossed the line.

OK, not the local bar, nor a wine bar or a sushi bar. “I give up” I said, both puzzled and intrigued.

“Actually it’s funny that you mentioned the sushi bar” he said, “because I did think about that new raw bar, but no, I was thinking of the juice bar on Broadway.”

Seriously? Sushi bar, raw bar & juice bar? I come from the era when the only variation to a bar was the kind that had “& grill” at the end.

Finally we met. We sat down at the “bar” and ordered our “drinks”. I was wishing mine was spiked. I can think of a number of ingredients that go quite well with orange or cranberry juice after 5pm. I shared my slight disbelief at the proliferation of bars that were popping up in our culture. I observed that bar names appeared to be trending. My friend dryly observed that I hadn’t even scratched the surface.

“Haven’t you been to a taco bar?”

“Uh, actually no…I have not.”

“How about a ramen bar?”


“Oyster bar?”

“Once, I think.”

“Where do you work out?”

“Definitely not in a bar. Don’t tell me that you do.”

“Absolutely. I do a spin class at a place called Cycle Bar. It’s great.”

“Cycle Bar?”

“Yes, and my wife works out at Pure Barre…which she prefers to The Bar Method and Barre 3.”

“Amazing. Now I really do need to visit a bar…check please!”

With a little hesitation I asked, “So, are there any more?”

“Hmmm. Well let’s see. There are blow dry bars…sports bars…”

“Actually never mind, I’m good.”

“…Apple has their Genius Bar.”

“Stop it.”