“You look very Zen chill right now.”
I looked up, smiling, shielding my eyes from the late Saturday afternoon sun. A broad shouldered, middle-aged man in a T-shirt stood on the pavement, taking in my bare feet propped on the pallet wood coffee table. He was friendly, much like the motorcyclists who pulled up 10 minutes after my husband and I snagged the good seats outside.
I don’t know what I expected from a dive like this, except I didn’t know that Second and Green in Winston-Salem would be dive-like. After meeting the owner, John Cain, at a Triad Beverage Alliance meeting at the classy Gia restaurant in Greensboro, I’d imagined it to be a place for middle-class white women to drink glasses of wine on a vine-draped patio.
But I’m glad my expectations weren’t met, and I’m equally glad I pre-gamed at Wise Man Brewing across town so I quickly warmed to the situation. When we walked in, the crowd consisted of a few people over 40 who seemed to be on their third Bud Lights or Heavy. Neon beer signs covered the walls. The food menu offered ham-and-cheese sandwiches and hotdogs, among a few other things.
The bartender was friendly and attentive, approaching us as soon as we walked up to the bar. Although she couldn’t procure the draft list, she pointed out Bell’s Oberon ale, standard to some other restaurants in town but surprising in a place like this. Even more exciting were the two Deep River IPAs on draft, and I noticed several craft beer options in the refrigerator; a sign on the wall advertised new cans of Wicked Weed, a signature North Carolina micro option.
Second and Green’s Facebook page indicates a rotating selection of craft beer, such as Granite Falls and New Belgium. There’s also plenty of liquor, drink specials galore and a selection of decent wines like 19 Crimes.
Having chosen the two Deep River IPAs and swapping sips to try each other’s, my husband and I stumbled back into the unseasonably warm weather. I was amazed that of all the patio seating, no one had chosen the loveseats made out of stained pallet wood, which had comfy green cushions like you’d find in a home improvement store. Echoes from the nearby Dash stadium wafted over, and the sun shone hot and high. A Tibetan gong-sounding chime softly bonged behind me at intervals, and I realized how “Zen chill” I felt before our new friend pointed it out.
Then, we heard the growling. First one, then two motorcycles pulled into the parking lot next to the outdoor seating. Eight or more total eased into a couple spaces, but like the rest of us, these people were coming to relax and have a beer.
Turns out, bikers are a fixture here. Several of them knew patrons already there, hugging them and patting them on the backs. Many mentioned their intention to go see the Dash play at the baseball field after their drinks. They could’ve even walked to the field if they wanted to leave their bikes.
Ultimately, Second and Green felt homey, and that comes from someone not one to like sports bars or hop on a motorcycle.