Feeling like eating some good ribs, we went to a local restaurant we don't frequent a great deal last night. It's very basic, owned by an Irish-American, and they stock excellent beer from all over the world including a number of Irish beers (Beamish, Harp and Bass) as well as offerings from some good American microbreweries. (At the moment, I'm very into hoppy beers and one in particular--Victory's Hop Devil--really fits the bill. They also don't rip their customers off with outrageous prices fro imported beers.
Unfortunately, they'd already sold out of ribs even though it was only six o'clock. As one enters the cavernous room (to the unfortunate smell of stale cigarette smoke because Pennsylvania still allows smoking in the bar areas), many might walk out for fear they'd entered a redneck joint. And the barmaid, though slim of figure, in her early forties, has done a lot of living and suffered hardship because it's written on her face.
It has the feel and ambiance of a redneck bar. However, a closer inspection reveals an assemblage of an entirely different clientele. There's a healthy flock of gray-haired 'early-bird special' folks, the snowbirds who've just returned for the summer from their condos in Florida. They perch at their tables, yakking among themselves while sipping from their glasses of water (always from the faucet), deliberate on the specials of the day and question the waitress to death about them, and then after ordering launch into grandchildren comparisons, yada, yada, yada. There's also the sophisticated New Yorkers, the ones who drape their Saks Fifth Avenue jackets casually over the cheap chairs and order a baked potato sans butter and cream instead of chips yet tuck into the Prime rib au jus like it's the last to be had on the planet. Of course, they also order the special wine (that's what it's called in this place) at a $1 extra instead of the common garden Chateau Box. And there is a smattering of friendly rednecks and their families. While not meant to be judgmental though it will appear so, it is noteworthy how so many of their wives and girlfriends are obese (as are their children, though I must confess their choices of food undoubtedly cause the condition because it's always fried and apple sauce appears to be the consistent vegetable of choice.
The waitresses themselves are all in their early to mid-fifties, with 'smoked for many years' faces, a little butch-looking though they're straight but I think I'm correct in concluding they're no longer interest in men for sex. They exude the slightest hint of dangerousness, a sort of 'don't even think about giving me trouble and don't ask for food substitutions.' I like it. You know where you are with them and they can crack a joke. They also sit beside the customers at their tables when they feel like it--only the regulars and even when they're eating--and share the latest gossip, which always seems to be most welcome judging by the commonality of paused heaped forkfuls before mouths thrust open with surprise and/or shock.
All in all, a very interesting spot.