Friday, February 11, 2011

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

[I wrote several posts to keep your hunger for Kelzie-flavored wit, sarcasm, and social commentary satiated during this time of me tearing up my apartment.]

It will probably not surprise anyone to know that I have a bike shop (The Bike Rack), running store (Pacers), and even a gym (Gold's Gym Van Ness) where I spend so much time or transact so much business that all the employees know me or have become good friends.  I think we all have places like this, central to whatever profession or hobby or schedule we keep.

What I never expected - and few would guess - is that I have a dive bar where the same employee/patron relationship holds.  Especially considering I consume alcohol about twice a year on average.  But this recognition and the pleasure I get from it is one of the quirkiest and most meaningful memories I will take with me from DC.

Meet the Tune Inn:

Don't blink or you'll miss's about 20 feet wide

Not an inch of wall space is spared...

and neither are the lives of animals to be hung on the wall

A good number of years ago - not anywhere near as long as the group has existed, but long enough that the number shocked me when I took the time to figure it out - I started attending a Wisconsinite and Wisconsin-connected lunch group at the Tune.  The founding member lived across the street when he graduated from college, and he and his friends still eat here weekly, if not daily, at least 30 years later.   

The pictures may not get this across, but the Tune is logical for a group of this make-up.  Despite three generations of family ownership in the same DC location and holding the oldest continuous liquor license in the city, the Tune feels like it was air-dropped in from northern Wisconsin.

They offer Keno for goodness sakes.

Dead animals hang on the walls by the tens, if not the hundreds.

The stools all have official occupants, including one woman who brings her own Sugar Free Red Bull to kick off her weekend at noon on Friday, and these occupants work off their bar tab by pulling beers and serving food.

There is a contractor who uses the front patio as his administrative office.

The beer is warm; the food is greasy, cheap and not very good; and all of the waiters and waitresses call me by Tune Inn name: "hon" or "honey."  [They do know my actual name, but rarely use it.  They still call the founding member by his college moniker...]

We order and they ask if I want the usual.

But the kicker - and the gold standard of "where everybody knows your name" - is that my drink is at my seat before I even sit down.  Water, no ice.  Not frilly or complicated, but they remembered it for years.

The Tune puts on no airs and I like that about the place.  Lisa, Bonnie, Susan, and have helped me feel a little bit at home in the big bad city.

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