Have you ever been addicted to your favorite local pool bar? Well maybe addicted is the wrong word, but let’s just say that at the end of a long week you might be ready for a cold brew at your local happy hour. My friend Johnny introduced me to a pool bar by the name of Cheap Shots, and that became a part of our Friday ritual for more than 10 years.
Every Friday like clockwork, we would meet at Cheap Shots to shoot pool from around 5:00 until 7:00, and then at 7p it was time for some No Limit Texas Hold’em Poker. We ran this routine for years and years, and used to drive our wives crazy as we constantly made up excuses as to why we were always late. Something about the place, the beer was just colder than anywhere else and even tasted better. I used to look forward to that all day on Friday. And walking in there was always a lot of fun, and even a little exciting!
It was usually the same faces, and everyone had their favorite drink. So whoever won poker got 3 to 4 free drinks, and we all knew what each other’s favorite drink was. For me, it was either a Bud Light or a Jack Daniels Old #7 and diet coke. One of those two, and all my poker buddies knew my calling card. Johnny was more of an old timer, and his drink of choice was the king of beers, Budweiser. And there was never any deviation from that.
I would have to say, from the crowd that used to hang at Cheap Shots, the top drinks were:
- Bud Light
- Rum and Coke
- Jaeger Shots
- Busch (for those tight on cash, and we all hit that group sometimes!)
There were no wine drinkers in this group!
The most memorable character in the group was Barry. He was a chubby fellow, but always had a smile on his face. As soon as he sat down each time he came too Cheap Shots, whether it was happy hour or not, his drink of choice was always to start with what he called a Nazi-Taco. This devilish combination was a shot of Jagermeister and a shot of Tequila mixed together. A truly sinister combination. After that warm-up he would switch over to beer to round out the evening.
Now if you want to impress your friends, try this at your next happy hour! The flaming Jagerbomb:
The poker we played was always blood sport. Sometimes we did not bet at all, but most times we would bet anywhere from $1.00 to $10.00 blinds. One night in particular, we were sitting in the lounge and this nerdy guy walked in and was looking for a poker game. I remember he was wearing an orange bowtie. Definitely did not fit in, and I thought to myself this guy is going to drop some cash tonight. Anyway, he turned out to be the best poker player I had ever seen. I don’t know if it was his lucky night, or he was just that good. He swept the pot and left the bar with more than $250. And just like that, we never saw him again. Always strange when you meet someone at the local watering hole, and they seem to connect with everyone, and then oddly you never see them again.
We had such great times at that old pool bar in the Florida panhandle. We watched a lot of football, played a lot of poker, and have a lot of laughs. Most of moved away and left that era from the 1990’s in or rear-view mirror. Lots of great memories remain, and I often wonder what the old gang is up to and where life has led them.