|Angel behind the bar at the Spinning Wheel|
Baby boomers will remember the 1968 hit of the group Blood, Sweat & Tears, "Spinning Wheel," and its first line: "What goes up must come down."
The line was apropos in more than one sense on a recent visit to the South End bar of the same name. When asked, our bartender Angel, who continues a line of expert and welcoming hostesses we've met over the three-year run of this blog, explained the popularity of Red Bull drinks among millennials: "It's an upper and a downer."
Red Bull, marketed as an energy drink, is the stimulant; alcohol is the universal depressant. What goes up -- your heart rate and cognition -- must come down, along with your mood and relationships. (In my day, it was Irish coffee: caffeine for up, Southern Comfort for down.)
|Backbar at the Spinning Wheel|
But it’s not all bull. Angel described a drink called the Roasted White Angel -- Kahlua, pecan rum, cream and a garnish.
She also introduced us to the Bull Mastiff: vodka, Kahlua, milk and Coca-Cola.
And the Zeus: Campari, vodka, ice and lime garnish. Even in Greek mythology, the gods descend. What goes up must come down.
Surprisingly, Angel also claimed that a 23-year old recently ordered an Old Fashioned: a sugar cube, bitters, bourbon and a citrus garnish.
Some things never change. Some do. When I came weeping into this vale of tears, my parents lived at Webster and 34th, four blocks west and three blocks south of the Spinning Wheel.
I saw the Spinning Wheel often, as it was right across the street from the South End Branch of the Bay City Public Library, and in my youth I read all the time. (Einstein said that people need
|Inside on a quiet day|
For some reason, I’ve always felt comforted when I see the wheel above the door. I don’t know how this centuries-old device for creating yarn or thread from natural fibers is a good name for a bar. Maybe it’s a metaphor for weaving the social fabric from the individuals who drop in.
Perhaps I like it as a concrete object, an icon for Broadway and 31st. That hasn’t changed.
But one thing has changed: The former library branch across the street is now the seldom-used Our Lady of Guadalupe Church. I’d like to do a government-funded study to establish an algorithm relating church attendance to bar attendance and the proximity of a bar to a church.
After raising their voices in song, people return to daily life. What goes up must come down.
The church has Our Lady; the Spinning Wheel has our Angel.
See the hairy guy's report on the Spinning Wheel: The pool tables are clean and the clientele isn't square but - aha! - it's a T-square!