The Only Question Remaining Now…is Where to Have that Last Drink Before Judgment Day?

My Home Bar

 With less than forty-eight hours remaining before Gabriel blows his sacred horn to summon the dead to meet their maker, I find myself  facing the usual end times quandary–where to have that last drink before judgment day?  While I’m not sure that I agree with Christian radio broadcaster Harold Camping’s fuzzy Bible-based mathematical formulations which pinpoint May 21st as the beginning of the end–I was tempted not to make the minimum payments on this week’s round of credit card bills.

In the past,  I’ve attempted to avoid being caught up in the Rapture by remaining safely huddled behind my bar at home. But as this is the first official Judgment Day since we began publishing American Public House  Review in 2007, I feel compelled to hold that final session in one of the many fine establishments that have been featured in our publication. And after a period of careful deliberation, I’ve decided that it was only fitting to raise that parting glass in the place where it all began–The Boat House in Lambertville, New Jersey.

The Bar at The Boat House - Lambertville, New Jersey

It was right around the last time Mr. Camping predicted the end of the world in 1994, that my friend  Jim Morris-Lee and I, while enraptured by the ambience of  The Boat House,  discussed the possibility of a magazine dedicated to the virtues pub life. Unfortunately, this brilliant writer was unable to be part of the eventual online venture. But in the event that our time here is truly short, I thought that I would share the last piece of writing that Jim sent my way.

THE POWER OF A PENNY

A little short, I pay the balance due on
a large cup of coffee at the general store
with a few extra pennies.

Some small talk then with the owner
about their personal value – you know,
squashing them on the tracks of the great
Trans-Canadian Railway when we were kids,
using one for a fuse during a thunderstorm,
or as material for making pendants while
he was a machinist in the Pacific Fleet.

An excuse, really, to talk about nothing,
and everything, simply spending time over
pennies.

Jim Morris-Lee
Pennsylvania
July, 2006

As I once again read Jim’s words, I am reminded that it is those simple aspects of life and how we treat one another that will determine whether we exist in a heaven or a hell–because everyday is Judgment Day. So employ your judgment wisely! 

Posted by: Chris Poh

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Surviving the Aftermath of Super Bowl Sunday

Photo by: Craig M. Wilson

Photo by: Craig M. Wilson

Having spent many a year in the tavern trade, I have always relished the relative quiet that fills the bars for the next few days after the big game. With each passing year since the first contest on January 15th, 1967, when the Green Bay Packers triumphed over the Kansas City Chiefs 35 – 10, the growing intensity of both the private and public hoopla have virtually brought the bar and restaurant business to grinding halt after that sacred Sunday. The American populace quite frankly is  simply just too spent and tired out. And who needs to leave the comfort of home in the middle of winter when there is still plenty of beer on the lower shelf, and an abundance of unknown dishes containing brie, guacamole and cilantro on the upper shelves of the fridge.

But for this introvert it’s a magical time–a time to have my favorite local  haunts  all to myself–a time of quiet reflection, wistful whiskies and peaceful pints. 

Here are just a few of the empty spaces where one might find me this week:               (Click on the photos to learn more.)

Lambertvile Station - Lambertville, New jersey

 The Boat House - Lambertville, New Jersey

For those of you that still crave the crowds and need to exercise our cherished right of noisy assemblage, not to worry, the Daytona 500 is less than two weeks away.

Posted by: Chris Poh

 

 

Musings from the Boat House

Boat House sign

Make no assumptions based upon the masthead at American Public House Review. It would be foolish for anyone to quantify through some formula of critical analysis the merits of a great tavern.

The bar at the Boat House

Such an endeavor would be akin to rating the ability of the great houses of worship to fuel man’s spiritual aspirations. It is enough to say that there are those things which are truly self-evident.

Recently, my wife and I visited a dear friend, who after thirty years as pastor of a prosperous parish, had been reassigned to lead a new congregation. Past visitations were limited to the rectory where, surrounded by the trappings of the Church of Rome and the generosity of the flock, our congenial host would offer sobering commentary on those human characteristics that often compromise the intent of religious life. But on this particular day the melancholy of a wearied ministry was replaced with a new ecclesiastical zeal. An invitation was extended beyond the priestly domicile; we were summoned to view the church.

St. Mary’s Sanctuary

 Upon entering the sanctuary, I instantly understood the reason for my friend’s spiritual reawakening. I could go on at some length describing the finer details that make this space such a unique expression of man’s relationship with the divine; but no architectural critique or exploration of craftsmanship and the use of materials would bring about an understanding of the wholeness or holiness of this place. My words could not provide further clarity. Revelation can only come about through individual experience, so I will end this part of the rumination by stating that if Saint Mary’s could expand the water into wine miracle to include fine ales and single malts, it would be featured prominently in this publication.

 
 
But alas  American Public House Review is not about chapels, churches or cathedrals–it is about saloons, pubs, taverns and taprooms. And the Boat House in Lambertville, New Jersey is among the finest of those aforementioned institutions, and it was also a major source of inspiration for this  journalistic enterprise.
 
Glasses Raised…Spirits Lifted…Journeys Shared

by Chris Poh

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