Most people have a window in their lives when they hone their moving skills. For me, that’s been my twenties. Whether you end up in a new province, new city, or a new part of town, there are certain things you have to do each time; one is find your new local.
A local is the pub that’s ‘stumbling distance’ to your front door. It doesn’t have to be your favourite spot in the city, but it’s the kind of place you’d go anyway; that, plus the proximity, is what makes a local so great. At the risk of making us Wo’MHers sound like alcoholics (what with Aaron’s recent post about the MLCC), your local can be extremely important to making your new neighbourhood feel like home.
After you leave a neighbourhood, your local is often what sticks with you the longest. Emma, Aaron and I all shared a local when we lived in the same house (at different times) in Kitsilano, a Vancouver neighbourhood. Nevermind was a dark, cozy bar whose main customers were the UBC students who lived in nearby suites and apartments. It was an awesome place to hang out, and take advantage of their $10 Burger and Brew on Tuesdays; Nevermind was my first and still favourite local.
Other times, you and your local may not click; this happened with me and my closest local, the Two Parrots. The Parrots was a bar that was well known to me by exterior alone – it was a bright yellow building with two giant neon parrots on the side, located downtown on Granville Street. I ended up renting an apartment above the bar*; the first time I went inside the Parrots was when I signed my lease. After that, I went in a handful of times; after parties, to meet up with friends, and, on a couple occasions, to watch the Canucks. My next apartment (after I got sick of the bar’s weekly karaoke night) was only ten blocks away, but I didn’t return to the Parrots after I moved.
Fast forward to the present: I found my current apartment on Craigslist almost two months before I moved here. Emma went over and scoped out the place for me; after it was deemed livable, we ran random searches on Google maps, finding the nearest bookstores, grocery store, library, and – yes – pub. That turned out to be Shannon’s Irish Pub on Hargrave Carlton (Edit: My inability to keep street names straight is part of the reason I get lost so often).
The Wo’MH team did a little trial run of the place the other night, and it looks to be local-perfect – cozy, occasional live music, and nachos on the menu (though there was a little disappointment on the vegetarian side when it turned out the tofu dish on the menu was no longer actually being served). The only thing missing is outdoor seating, which, considering it’s underground, isn’t surprising. It seems like the perfect location for ducking over in the cold of winter, but I’m not too sure about the fairer months of the year; I think I still need to explore some more downtown pubs for some sunny patio action.
Fellow (and former) Winnipeggers: what’s your local?
* Kids, never live above a bar in downtown Vancouver.