Once you get way deep into the Bywater neighborhood of New Orleans there are still a few unvarnished gems good for a tipple or two.
BJ’s Lounge is one of them. While the building looks like it might collapse at any given moment I have a feeling the cigarette smoke could keep the roof aloft long enough to make an escape in the event of an emergency.
Off through the haze that’s probably Little Freddie King playing guitar over in the corner. The 78 year old guitar player digs deep into the blues one night a month here and has for eons.
A recent afternoon spent drinking the coldest Pabst Blue Ribbon I’ve ever had the pleasure of tasting and Jamesons was a well spent one.
A couple ol boys taking a break from churning buttermilk and plucking banjers on their back porch have come on down to root hog or die [Arkansas Razorbacks football team are playing on the teevee]. The felt hats and overalls let everybody know they mean business. The long scraggly beards are another matter entirely.
The veteran bartender’s ears really perk up when the conversation turns to Hogs Head Cheese. We discuss the relative merits of Terranova’s Meat Market and whether their Saturday only muffaletta is deserving of the hubub.
Music runs towards New Orleans cats like James Booker. Would that all bars had music that ran in this direction.
Periodically a buzzer will sound off in the bar. The bartender casts an eye towards the door to make sure nobody’s trying to roll in with a pistol grip pump.
All is well and true during my recent hang.
Old beatup taverns like BJ’s are getting hard to come by. With the Bywater neighborhood slowly being revived and repriced for all the new residents one has to wonder how long a little jewel like BJ’s can continue selling cheap beer and strong cocktails to the locals and occasional out of towners?