The Art of Drinking Alone


For most, the thought of drinking alone at bars is fraught with anxiety. But for Brad Thomas Parsons, it’s become a routine that has not only taught him the virtue of familiarity, but continues to connect him to the memory of his father.

I was always intimidated walking into the bar at the American Legion Post 140. While I had attended countless clambakes, chicken barbecues and Friday fish fries there, the bar was a member’s only affair. Behind the Legion there was a covered deck and then a locked entryway with a one-way mirror. After ringing the bell there was an awkward moment of silence staring at my own reflection as I waited to be let inside. Then I’d hear the bartender shout from the other side, “What’s the password?” Then laughter as I was buzzed in with a shout: “Bert, it’s your son.” Once my eyes adjusted to the dim light of the basement bar, I’d find my father at his favorite stool and he’d buy me a Coke and discreetly slide over a short stack of pull-tabs for me to help him tear through while he ordered another Miller Lite.


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