by Eric Ginsburg
I have nobody to blame but myself.
Admittedly I started drinking later than most of my peers — I was 20 before I drank my first beer, after years of self-identifying as a straight-edge punk — but I drew up ground rules for drinking long ago, and when I do right by them, they do right by me.
There were extenuating circumstances this last Saturday: a beer-pong tournament, and a host of new friends at a Raleigh house party, including someone who’s tight with the owners of Mystic Bourbon Liqueur in Durham. That’s really where it began, when the keg briefly stopped working and we switched over to a taste of Mystic, straight up.
Friends, enemies and strangers, trust me on this: “Beer before liquor, never been sicker” doesn’t just sound cute, it’s one of the Ten Commandments of boozing.
But since I wasn’t a total idiot and also scarfed down a burger, a copious amount of snacks and fruit tarts, and switched to water before catching a ride to an air mattress for the night, another drinking commandment could save me: A hair of the dog really can help the next day.
I woke up the next morning with a mild enough hangover to be perfectly functional, but Biscuitville and a treat from Monuts in Durham still couldn’t erase it. I intended to swing by the Spoonmosa Sunday event at the Weatherspoon Art Museum in Greensboro for a free mimosa, but a belated return to town nixed that option. (I do plan to take my sister, who will be visiting from Boston, to the next Spoonmosa event on July 26. See you there.)
So I drummed up two neighbors and rolled to my tried and true.
Any bar has its regulars, but Fisher’s Grille at the edge of Greensboro’s Fisher Park neighborhood is the kind that’s practically run by regulars. They are lawyers stopping in on the way home from the courthouse, service-industry types from places like Smith Street Diner and harmless neighborhood ruffians.
Fisher’s Grille is a sports bar with allegiances to the Detroit Tigers above all else and paraphernalia including a NASCAR fender as decoration.
But even though several televisions project live sports — this Sunday the lineup included a rodeo and a seemingly important car race — it’s not a true sports bar. The fans are mostly too casual, though occasionally a patron dons a jersey. More importantly, the place closes so early that I’ve regularly been pushed out before an NBA game finishes in regulation time, as happened two weeks ago during the NBA Finals.
Then, like this Sunday, Fisher’s drew me in with its convenience to downtown and its $3 mimosas, which consist of what looks to be 90 percent champagne and a quick dash of orange juice. Nowhere else I know, save for the free Weatherspoon event, has that heavy a pour for so cheap.
There are other appeals to Fisher’s Grille too, including a food menu that includes a California chicken sandwich with guacamole and a side of sweet-potato fries. My friend Anthony is an advocate of the bar’s martinis, though he may receive special treatment because his father was one of the famed regulars.
I’ve taken one or two dates and scheduled one or two off-the-record meetings at Fisher’s too, because despite having been in dozens of times, I only recall running into someone I know here thrice. That’s no small feat in a city this size, and adds to the appeal of a townie bar such as this.
Corner Slice, the pizza place and bar next door, is owned by the same family, and runs alternating drink specials, upping the appeal of an excursion to the area. The intersection would’ve grown into something akin to what we’re seeing around the corner at Preyer Brewing and Crafted long ago if the other corners weren’t being underutilized as a funeral home and a church, among other things.
It’s sad, in a way, to look out at that wasted potential. But then again, Fisher’s Grille wouldn’t have the same hyper-localized appeal, and routine patrons would migrate elsewhere.
The first mimosa, though refreshing, did little to ease my slight headache, but the second delivered what fried food and an attempted nap could not. As I tabbed out, I silently said my thanks for humble pubs like Fisher’s, which are as dependable and consistent as the commandments of drinking.
Visit Fisher’s Grille at 608 N. Elm St. (GSO) or at fishersgrille.com.