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Welcome to Callahan's

During the past year I've been writing about the Long Island craft beer scene. While I don't propose to give that up, I plan on doing something a little different in the coming year: I'm going to adopt a nearby bar as “my local” and I'm going to become a part of the regular crowd (where they like it or not) and write about that experience and what I see happening in the bar.

It's hard to pinpoint where I got this idea, but it might have been when I was reading Travels with Barley by Ken Wells earlier this year. Wells was on a quest to find the best beer joint in the country. His descriptions of life and character of the bars he drank in probably oiled the wheels and started me thinking about bar or pub culture. Observing pub culture was certainly one of my goals on my recent pub tour of England.

Instead of following Wells's meandering path from the head waters of the Mississippi all the way down to New Orleans (with occasional side trips to Portland, Oregon) in search of the ideal beer joint, I plan to stay put and drink beer in one place. Basically, I'm adopting “a local.”

I struggled with whether I should actually identify the true name of my local, but in the end I decided that the actual name of the pub does not matter. Thus I selected the name, Callahan's, as a convenient shorthand for my local.

There are several places I could have selected has my local; however, Callahan's is probably the most interesting drinking space within a two minute drive of my house. Callahan's is in a 150-year-old building, a historical landmark in our town, and the interior of the taproom shows all the signs of it's rustic, colonial origins.

The other reason that Callahan's is attractive to me is that the group of locals, or regular patrons, seem to be really nice folks. In fact on one of my first visits to Callahan's one of the locals included me in a round at the bar. Of course, I did the right thing and bought the next round. It's precisely these sorts of interactions that make pub-going interesting and social.

I hope you will bear with me over the coming year as I periodically take you to my local, Callahan's, and give you a beer nerd's glimpse at another beer culture that we "sweater and beard"-types don't usually see.

Well I'm off to Callahan's for a pint of Blue Point Toasted Lager. I'll be back soon to let you know how it goes.