It’s no secret that at Four Walls, we love a good bar! In fact, we believe they might be some of the most important institutions in America. More than just a place to bend the elbow, these humble centers of civilizations have been shaping our nation since before its founding. Don’t believe us? Well, consider this: the Boston Tea Party was planned at a bar – the Green Dragon Tavern. Many of the Founding Fathers first met at a bar – the City Tavern of Philadelphia. And the US Marine Corps? Their first recruiting station was at (you guessed it) a bar – the Tun Tavern. It was the gin joints of the colonies that incubated revolution, not the stuffy meeting halls we always see in the paintings. Sitting in a comfy pub, Americans thumbed their noses at King George with one hand while holding a stiff drink in the other.
And it doesn’t stop there. Every important movement in America is tied to the local watering hole in one way or another. The labor movement of the early 20th century, the civil rights crusades of the 1950s and 60s, and even the gay rights marches of the 1960s and 70s – they were all started in bars.
And if you still need convincing, then maybe take the word of Ernest Hemingway, a man who knew a thing or two about saloons. In fact, up until 1960, it’s doubtful there were many dives between New York City and Key West Papa hadn’t been to. He once sagely advised, “don't bother with churches, government buildings or city squares. If you want to know about a culture, spend a night in its bars.”
Truer words were never spoken. At the bar you find all walks of life, all classes, and all professions. On any given night you’ll see plumbers, accountants, mechanics, and bankers, all standing shoulder to shoulder, having a drink and sometimes a laugh. The barriers of society are gone – they’re just fellow humans enjoying some time together.
Four Walls is going to honor these places. They dot the country, in every city, town, village, and burg from Maine to California. They’re the unsung heroes of America, and we want to sing some of their greatest hits. We’ve asked professor and writer Clint Lanier to pick out some of his favorites. Clint’s been writing about bars for over a decade, and has journeyed everywhere to find them, from the smallest backwaters to the biggest metros. He’s written about out of the way dives as a travel writer for the Huffington Post and even published a guide to the historic bars of America. Look for his upcoming pieces about Philadelphia’s Doc Watson’s, New York’s Abbey Pub, Chicago’s long lost Schaller’s Pump, and more.
But this is just the start, we have big plans in the works. Make sure you sign up for our newsletter so you don’t miss out. The first piece will drop November 7th, so stay tuned. In closing, we’ll leave you with something else Hemingway said that seems completely appropriate right now, “never sit at a table, when you can stand at the bar.”