Last call at the bar

I have made an unhappy but necessary decision. The bar in my basement has to go.

Having it there has been fun. It gives the house a sense of history and character. Other features of the basement contribute to that character: for instance, you can see in the photo here the built-in blender station on the surface of the bar, and the two knobs on the wall (left side of picture) that control volume for a stereo system build into the ceiling. There’s also two rows of coat racks down the hall to the right of the photo. Then there’s the strategic position of ceiling lights, the TV cables in every room of the upper floor, the separate doorbell on the back door which rings in the basement, the urinal in the bathroom (I had never seen a urinal in a private home before), the box of sex toys that I found in a cubbyhole. That’s it there in the photo: the hand made wooden box on the bar. Several of my friends, on seeing these things, instantly believed that the house must have been a speakeasy or an illegal bar, possibly a swinger’s club, possibly a studio for producing pornographic films. I have no interest in reviving any of those uses for the space, but it has amused me to know that I am the owner of a space that might once have had such a use. And I really like that it looks a bit like the bar at the Prancing Pony, in Bree.

But I have to pull it all out. For one thing, there’s a beer fridge built into the bar which is now sixty years old, and the bar was built around it such that I cannot remove it without also removing the bar. That fridge is going to rot if I don’t get rid of it. And there’s all kinds of garbage behind it that I can’t reach to clean.

In fact the whole of my basement needs renovation work. Walls need to be insulated, plumbing moved, lighting installed, and so on. The fact is, I have a bar in my basement that I’ve never used for drinking. The other half of the basement, behind the point of view of these photos, there’s no drywall covering the insulation, the ceiling is exposed, the windows are stuffed with insulation to keep drafts down, there’s baking powder stains on the floor in the corner where my rabbits used to poop. So it’s not really very welcoming. I’ve been putting off the renovation works for three years, spending my extra money on trips to central Europe instead. This summer, it’s time to fix the house.

Okay, I know this isn’t all that interesting to most people. Still, I thought you might enjoy seeing the bar before it’s gone. I once had this idea that my house could be a centre of sorts, where my friends to attend philosophical discussion nights, big dinner parties, and so on. For lots of complicated reasons, not the least of which being that I don’t have many local friends, that didn’t happen. But maybe it could happen, when the renovations work is done.

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