5 February 2010 CommonWealth in Columbia Heights
The cask ales at CommonWealth in Columbia Heights, D.C. are a reminder of Boom Times in W1, London. Tonight’s Oliver’s Bitter is a 20 ounce imperial pint teasing my emotions with fondest memories of The Strand, and of Trafalger Square … but where? The Cole Hole, perhaps … beside The Savoy? What did I drink at The Coal Hole? What did Oscar Wilde drink at the Coal Hole?
A young couple is seated at the table beside me. Small talk ensues. Very small talk. Then he lets slip a statement beginning, “My last girlfriend…” But he recovers quickly with: “So what’re you drinking? Beer? Cider? Wine?”
The waitress comes by and they order ciders and I get my bill. $31 plus a $10 tip. As I get up to leave, the guy asks his date, “So what kind of peanut butter do you like?” A table for one, it seems, is a lonely freedom.