29 November 2010

"The Corner Pub"

The Bellows | Ryan Avent | The Corner Pub

London, like cities and towns across the British Isles, is filled with pubs. They vary in type, quality, and clientele. I was very lucky this time around to find a near-perfect gastropub just a five minute walk from my flat. It was quiet and well-maintained with a great menu, and while there were always people there, there was also always a free seat. Kids were welcome during the day, as were dogs. Every time I went I thought to myself how great it would be to have such a place close by back in Washington. And every time I thought that, I immediately reminded myself that such a place, back in Washington, would be perpetually packed and fairly unpleasant. In the Washington area, you can’t have a place that’s both really good and quiet in a neighborhood-y sort of way.

That’s largely because it’s very difficult to open new bars. And the result is a pernicious feedback loop. With too few bars around, most good bars are typically crowded. This crowdedness alienates neighbors, and it also has a selecting effect on the types of people who choose to go to bars — those interested in a loud, rowdy environment, who will often tend to be loud and rowdy. This alienates neighbors even more, leading to tighter restrictions still and exacerbating the problem.

Sadly, this is the kind of dynamic that’s very difficult to change. No city council will pass the let-one-thousand-bars-bloom act...
We don't need a "Let One Thousand Bars Bloom Act," we need a "No City Councilman Is So Wise As To Know Where And How Businesses Ought To Be Distributed Throughout His City Act."

Of course I'm not holding me breath for that to pass any time sooner, either. Not as long as we've got a bunch of Clint Webbs trying to make it in politics.



Most well adjusted, sane men would be hesitant to take a job where their decisions would so drastically affect the lives of so many. Not me.

I posses a sort of sociopathic narcissism that makes me think that I should be in charge of everyone.

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