Waiter, waiter there’s a hair on my chair.

by Columbine Quillen on October 23, 2011

Once many years ago in a futile attempt to leave the service industry, I found myself temping at a real estate development company in downtown Denver. It was the first time I became hyper aware of the office man’s caste system. There were many tools that the office men used to distinguish themselves from one another: placement of their office, number of windows in the office, the tardiness as to the time they found themselves at work, the length of their lunch, expense or their suit, quality of their haircut, but the easiest way to tell who was who was to look at their chair. The chair alone could tell you their rank amongst their fellow men. Obviously the nicer the chair: the higher up the back went, the quality of materials, and the element of the swivel told you immediately his place in life.

In a bar, all the chairs are the same and the bar truly is the great equalizer of men. There are no Misters or Misses in the bar, everyone goes by their first name. Great powers of industry sit next to guys who clean out sewers and chat about how their wives drive them crazy and how proud they are of their kids. Bars are these magical places, where it doesn’t matter who you are during the day, when you square up to the rail – you are just a thirsty man like any other thirsty man at the bar.

On special occasion, there is that one individual who is has grown accustomed to an air of obnoxiousness as he spends most of his day rolling around in a million dollar Pininfarina office chair (styled by Italian luxury car designers). He finds himself in the bar trying to wield his power, mostly by treating everyone around him like they are lucky to breathe the same air as himself. But within minutes, his neighboring bar customers and the bartender will remind him that this type of behavior has no place in such an egalitarian society. And it is on very rare occasion that such an individual doesn’t get the hint, typically after one or two he’s sharing stories and buying rounds on his quarter-inch thick Amex black card.

I find myself now, not behind a bar but rather in the caste system (sadly bottom feeding with all of the other hungry sucker fish). If only the only available chair on the market was a bar stool – well the world might just be a much nicer place.

Whiskey: the great equalizer of men.

Here are a couple of my favorite whiskeys that can be afforded on the budget of a hungry sucker fish.

Henry McKenna

The flavor of this bourbon is very light and crisp with a hint of sweet maple and toasted oak. I truly believe you can not get a better whiskey for the price (typically runs between $11 – $15 a bottle).

A brief history: Henry McKenna was a distiller originally from Ireland and settled in Fairfield, Kentucky in 1837. He built a distillery in his new home which opened in 1855. He made whiskey just like he did in Ireland, except he had to use corn – but believed he made a superior product and soon Henry McKenna’s whiskey became known as “Kentucky’s Finest Table Whiskey.” I also like one of their motto: “Henry McKenna Bourbon honors that heritage with a Bourbon that can be served with pride and poured without pretension.”


Four Roses Bourbon Whiskey

This is a real treat with light fruit, gentle spice, and the sweet taste of honey. However, if you find yourself a notch up from the sucker fish level, try their older whiskeys – awesome spirit in a bottle for a great value. Their run-of-the-mill bottle typically runs between $15 – $20 bottle.

A brief history: When you are at the liquor store looking for Four Roses, you will find that many of the bottles have beautiful roses sculpted into the bottle design. Supposedly the story goes that the founder, Paul Jones, Jr. had a huge crush on a beautiful Southern belle. He was said to have sent her a proposal and if she were to say yes, she would wear roses on her gown to the upcoming grand ball. She arrived with four red roses on her corsage and thus he named his second love after his first love.

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