As busy as I am, I find it increasingly difficult to spend time at the bars with my friends. In fact, without notice, the downtown scene has changed right before my eyes. Some place called Sports eXchange is getting all the attention.
Many venues and establishments in Old Town seem to continuously chase the â€œinâ€ crowd and attempting to cultivate the event that is Friday and Saturday night.
I get it. I understand that the chaos of music, lights and debauchery is a way to liberate.
For some, though, a more marginalized crowd, the music and lights is the antithesis to seeking liberation. Some are looking for release by way of a bar that works as simply a backdrop or setting for the debauchery.
This crowd seeks out a bar that fills a niche in Old Town for some of its more charismatic of residents: the hippies and mountain men and women who rock climb and women who like men with beards, and men who like girls who drink beer because itâ€™s cheap.
This bar is a place where on any given night you might just hear nine Sublime songs in a row.
The bar that after 16 years believes drinking a PBR is still priceless. And one that banks on its consistency and brands that as the ambiance you can come to expect every time you visit.
It is the one and only Trailhead Tavern.
Early one afternoon I sat at my favorite table alongside the wall across from the bar. Manager Bob, a big guy wearing a Boston Red Sox T-shirt, joined me. Heâ€™s served me drinks before.
Heâ€™s a good guy â€“â€“ a Trailhead guy.
We discussed drink and food specials, the barâ€™s regulars and the women that come through. We talked about how the Trailhead can fill a void, matching up with an Old Town personality trait that no other bar in town can.
Bob said the Trailhead has never really had to make changes to be successful.
â€œItâ€™s like Groundhog Day everyday around here,â€ Bob said. â€œThereâ€™s not a lot that needs changing.â€
Their incessant need to not refine anything, doesnâ€™t mean that the Trailhead canâ€™t get busy.
What sets it apart is the crowd that comes in and out, the diversity of people looking to enjoy the flavor.
One female bar hopper told me the people there seem â€œsketchy.â€
… I can see where she is coming from. Often unkemt travelers and townies make their way into the tavern. Maybe the reason why we love it.
â€œIt doesnâ€™t seem like a college bar,â€ she said. â€œIt seems more just like a local bar.â€
While describing a â€œregularâ€ Bob said there isnâ€™t just one description for people that drink at the Trailhead.
â€œWe get everything from the frat guys to the people with dreadlocks,â€ Bob said.
The bar doesnâ€™t attract the ostentatious women, claiming to â€œjust wanna dance.â€ But the bar does provide a casual arena for conversation.
The atmosphere, prices, service and people are what allows for the Trailhead to be the Trailhead. Plus every time you go, youâ€™ll know the Jager is $2, all the time.
Iâ€™ll stop by on Saturday night to see whatâ€™s new, or better yet, what isnâ€™t.
_Editorial Editor Chadwick Bowman is a senior sociology and journalism major. Letters and feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. _