Monday, March 31, 2014

Bar #55 Sidetrack Cafe Prologue

Due to everyone's lives becoming too busy and an avoidance to do the blog on the weekends I have only been puttering towards the final goal of having a beer at every bar in Lakewood and writing about it. Today, I write about a yesterday. It's fall 2005. I have a new 2006 Prius (that why I remember the year) and I am going with some friends to a bar I've never been to.  My memory may not be as accurate as I hope after almost a decade.  Bar #55 will be Sidetrack Cafe, but this is just its prologue to the official visit.

Sidetrack Cafe is known as a biker bar. Not in the flashy, neon fashion of the franchised versions out there or the biker bars seen on the Blah Blah Channel. Sidetrack Cafe is a place where people would sit down hot, stinking and tired after riding the backroads of America. They don't need a dozen specialized beers with spices, fancy names, and fancier price tags; if it was cold and beer, it was probably what they were looking for. A proper biker bar offers only what is needed to get the job done: beer, whiskey, seats and something that produces music. A real biker bar makes every other bar feel like a gimmick.

Sidetrack Cafe was split into three sections. The first section was your standard dive bar. Almost all the seating was along the bar itself and primarily warmed by men that have been riding motorcycles for most of the last half century. Classic rock was coming out of the jukebox and wouldn't stop for the rest of the evening. The bar was run by a pretty woman that had no problem keeping control her bar with just a smile and the ability to see problem coming.

The second room had some tables and chairs and centered on a large screen TV that remembered who shot JR. It had that slight lack in color that is seen in the old giant TVs that have been used a couple years too many. It may be too large to give up on, or might simply be too large to bother moving. My brain tells me everything in the room was a shade of brown.

The third room had plywood walls. There was a pool table taking up the majority of the space. That is everything in the room. The plywood didn't insulate as much as hoped, but we spent the evening in the room hoping the slight bit of shivering would work in our favor or that we'd stop feeling the cold after the next beer. At least we didn't have to worry about our beer getting warm.

Sidetrack Cafe gave me everything I wanted, beer, somewhere to sit and something to do. With all the amazing bars in Lakewood, it's easy to forget what really matters. Going to almost every bar in Lakewood has helped instill in me that it's not always about all the things a bar may offer, but all the things that I want from a bar on a specific evening. One evening I may want amazing food, and beer that tastes like a work of art. Another evening I may way want a dart board, cold ignorable beer and patrons that feel like we've known each other half our lives, even if we've just met. Living in Lakewood means getting exactly what you want, just remember that there's a chance you could find it in any Every Bar in Lakewood.

Sidetrack Cafe, Bar #55, may be completely different than it was 8 years ago. I look forward to seeing it again soon.

13429 Lakewood Heights Blvd

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