The list of bars and restaurants we’ve been tossed out of is a short one but Cloak Room is on it.
We love old people. They’re a link to our past and we always treat them with the reverence and respect due to a person who’s exhibited the resilience it takes to survive for multiple decades on this giant hunk of earth relentlessly spinning it’s way around the universe. Then there’s Beverly Pruitt. After reading the puff piece that Emma Janzen penned for the Statesman last week on the Cloak Room and their resident curmudgeonly bartender Bev we feel compelled to make a new addition to our Best Dive Bar In Austin series.
The bars that we frequent the most tend to be old timers joints. We love the company of the pensioners in our drinking lives and we love even more a good bartender who qualified for AARP back when Moses was young.
We’ve long since learned that if you’ll keep your mouth shut and your ears open, the old timers can regale you with stories that even the most seasoned person under fifty could only dream of telling.
It was frigid evening perhaps 10 years ago and it was date night. A little Mexican firecracker and myself were making the rounds hitting the bars and having a good time in the run up to what would become a pretty serious relationship.
We found ourselves in the Cloak Room, enjoying a drink or two and the dark ambiance that has made the space famous for people who enjoy a life in the shadows of a quiet bar.
Until Guadalupe made the mistake of bussing me on the cheek in the manner of young mom grazing her newborn with a kiss.
Beverly Pruitt exploded. She’d been a fairly gracious host up til that point but this tiny act of affection instantly morphed her into a shrieking harridan.
The passage of the years has robbed the exact speech from memory but it was one for the ages. Our fellow patrons at the bar exchanged glimpses of sympathy as we were lambasted as though we were found wildly copulating on a knocked over table in the corner.
Over a kiss on the cheek.
We love that Janzen in her article used phrases like no-nonsense and forthright to describe Pruitt. That’s being polite to put it mildly.
Austin and the surrounding areas still have a few old timey places like Cloak Room for an afternoon of tippling. With a little research you can even find some that have classic, elderly bartenders who treat their patrons with “respect and kindness” traits that Janzen mistakenly attributes to Beverly Pruitt.
If you want a classic, old fashioned Austin evening head up to Buddy’s Place on North Burnet. You’ll have the time of your life, hear some great music and if you happen to get a buss on the cheek the barkeep won’t give you a second glance.
That’s the kind of “historic drinking den” we favor.
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