Nov 13, 2014

A tale of two sittings: A visit to G’s, and on to Jake's

Sign above the barroom entrance
Doc's report:

It’s a sign of hope, in a city as small and friendly as Bay City, that there is only one restaurant named after a letter of the alphabet. That leaves open the possibility of 25 more; and if they’re anything like G’s, they’ll  enhance an already vibrant bar and restaurant scene.

G’s occupies the former Terry & Jerry’s O Sole Mio, where my family celebrated my parents’ 25th wedding anniversary in 1972. Bay City high end, in other words.

Even today, the local University of Michigan alumni club holds its monthly board meetings there, with the familiar last names of civic and business leaders. My girlfriend is on that board, and when I e-mailed her in Italy to ask her favorite meal there, she responded with the speed of a papal interdict: the turkey reuben.

Dan Nowak, who, with Harry, co-founded this blog under the pseudonym Baldo, would go there just for the garlic rolls.

Well, as my girlfriend would say, “When in Rome.”

So, breaking with practice and tradition, I had a merlot in G’s smallish bar, rather than my usual Bud Light during a sports season, as I awaited Harry’s arrival. Some bar/restaurants
Most of the bar at G's
are simply bars, serving food. Some are restaurants with a bar. Some strike a happy balance and integrate the two. Coonan’s Irish Hub would be an example of the latter.

G’s is the second: a great restaurant, with a small bar, while you wait for your table.

The merlot was great – as it should be at $4.50 a glass. What you drink influences how you talk. With beer, it tilts towards wit and sports. With wine: nostalgia and women, as it was this day, as Harry and I recalled our days with John and Baldo as bleating lambs on the meadows of SVC (now SVSU), which comprised no more than a few buildings at the time.

Our majors – history, literature and journalism – were easy, as most history had not yet occurred, most literature had not yet been written, and the Nixon White House was writing your headlines for you.

Harry spotted my vulnerability. I was missing both Baldo and my girlfriend, and had had the merlot. So he invited me to the windowless Jake’s, right around the corner, for what he called a “friendly” game of shuffleboard. Harry knows I can’t be touched in pool. I grew up with a pool table in my basement.

But Harry likes shuffleboard and knows the game, in the same sense that Shakespeare liked and knew how to write tragedy. He knows where to sprinkle the sawdust. Your odds of beating him are like your odds of winning the Mega Millions.

The games, which went to 15 points, were close, given my 13-point handicap.

Somehow, I found my way home and e-mailed my girlfriend a link to Dean Martin singing “That’s Amore.”

See the hairy guy's report on G's: The smallest barroom in town, with no games but a big TV, big meatballs and wine

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