My chair had wheels on it.
I’m going to assume it’s to prevent drunks from stumbling back and slamming their heads on the tiles. Twelve mounted screens encircled the interior of this small pub, probably the smallest encountered so far. There was no segregation by walls, fireplaces, or bars, save for one area off to the side reserved for parties. Unlike the College Heights Pub, Steamers fits the mold of a stereotypical Canadian Pub like an Englishman with bad teeth.
(I had several other examples of stereotypes lined up but that one I considered least offensive.)
Steamers should go by the name of “Whazzat” because I keep needing to be reminded it exists. Over the dozens of times I’ve been forced to visit a pub through blog obligations or friends, at no point has Steamers been considered an option. It might have been its location; Steamers is isolated in a region of town straining credibility on being called rustic. I’d go so far as to call it neglected, even ramshackled—an area with such low building costs the nearby Nissan dealership advertises such a point, claiming it passes the savings onto the consumer. And if you believe that, let me introduce you to a man with a tape recorder up his nose.
There were no vehicles parked outside of Steamers but I found two other patrons inside drinking and not eating. One particular individual sat alone at a large table, downing bottle after bottle like he was Nicholas Cage in Leaving Las Vegas. With nothing to do, his head wandered between TVs, occasionally falling to me, I assumed to wonder why I ordered food while drinking a coke. I admit feeling uncomfortable, just the same as when I visited Westwood Pub. Who would come to a pub and not drink away the mediocrity of their lives? Personally, I don’t understand why someone would go to a place like this and not order food, especially if alone. Like most pubs, they’re broadsided by cold beer & wine stores. Why not just fill your car with alcohol and spend your evenings more productive like downing coolers while surfing cable channels on the slim chance you might stumble across a few minutes of soft-core pornography and end up getting fixated watching The Simpsons on Cartoon Network?
There was a keno screen and two lotto machines. Beyond those staples, at least Steamers doesn’t look bad. The floor is carpeted. The seats are actually comfortable. The roof is...well, finished. There aren’t any tacky sports memorabilia hanging from windows, though there are a series of neon novelties above the bar, which are probably hockey masks, but given their shape could also be glowing jock-straps.
I eventually ordered the Philly Cheese steak instead of the special, though both share the beef barley soup special for the day. In the future, I’ll avoid ordering anything which doesn’t require cooking. At least it forces the cooking staff to actually cook. Most pub specials I’ve noticed are loose meat specials, precluding the need to run the stove. I did hear the microwave buzzing, but that could’ve been the soup. I was warned the quality of their buns wasn’t high and I should order the sandwich on regular bread. I agreed. Shouldn’t have. This is not the fault of the cook, but loose meat like what you find in Philly cheese steak just doesn’t hold together between two flat slices of bread. At least the soup was enormous. I thought for a moment that I had ordered an extra soup, but the one besides the sandwich was the beef dip. The sandwich had a lot to be desired but the soup was good, all assembled by the server, who was actually the chef, and is probably also the owner by that same logic. But the cheese wasn’t melted and the beef dip was too salty.
I kept claiming that I’m the wrong person to review pubs, and yet I do because I feel it an obligation. And on occasion, I get surprised, like with the College Heights Pub. However, too often, I expect and get locations like Steamers and Westwood (the latter I realize now I was too kind towards)—a location where I realize the only reason to be here in the afternoon is to gather with co-conspirators in preparation for the bombing of Parliament. But I won’t go down the road of unsaturated pessimism. I will find something to praise. I’ve already mentioned the decor, better than pub average, but on par with what I expect to be the minimum in restaurant presentation. The solitary employee was considerate and approachable. And at least they had 80’s metal playing over the speakers over the dreaded country music I’ve been forced to often endure.
I suppose if you lived in this area, there would be few options and still be able to walk home. There’s nothing else for at least a mile. By noon, two more patrons had entered, instantly recognized, addressed, and welcomed by the others. Like many pubs, it apparently thrives on a small loyal clientele, probably spillover from the unemployed workers living in the nearby trailer park.
Yeah, OK, that was out of line, but this is not an attack on the restaurant, more so on the type of individual that would go into a pub alone at 11:00 am on a weekday and just drink alcohol. I’m surely prejudging; I’ve no idea who these people are. But prejudging is so useful. It cuts through the minutia. I found it incredibly successful; it’s allowed me to remain single all these years...
...Oh, great, now I’m depressed.
I should get a drink.
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