Beers For All Occasions

An Experiment in Social Drinking

Marmaduke’s

Marmaduke’s was never on our radar before this excursion. Somehow, it was missing from our bar lists, and for two girls who met in the Highlands and now live in Old Louisville and Germantown, Camp Taylor might as well be a different planet. And how. 

Just getting there was a bit of a challenge. One of us heard it was across from the K-mart on Poplar Level and the other was told Poplar Level and Watterson. Watterson is certainly a better director- you run into that Mexican restaurant where the “Open Mondays” sign is more prominent than the place’s name, then you make a sharp turn- almost a U-turn, and you’re at Marmaduke’s parking. I think you can park in front- on Poplar Level- too, but that lot is easy to miss. It’s not really close to any other bars, so I can understand, now, how it came to pass that the two of us had never even seen this place. Luckily, the Bar Belle, our third musketeer for the night, has been at this game longer than we have. 

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Once inside, both of us raised an eyebrow, I believe. It’s definitely sort of a honky-tonk and the crowd took notice of the fact that it was our first visit. It’s wood paneled with padding on all corners, and lots of sign advertising Budweiser, Nascar, or drinking Budweiser while watching Nascar. There are a few pool tables (tournaments on Thursday), an internet jukebox (which seems to mostly be used for country music), and ping pong. Yes, Forrest, you can drink and play ping pong at Marmaduke’s. Also, there’s Karaoke on Wednesdays- we’ll come back to that later. They say sometimes, there are Saturday night bands.The crowd was small, though, (as per usual) we were assured it’s packed on weekends. The place was clean enough, but it must be noted that the stall door in the ladies’ room is a camouflage curtain. 

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As far as selection, this joint is bare bones, but cheap as hell. My Budweiser was $1.75, which may be an all-time low for somewhere I don’t work. They tend to serve beer in a pitcher with no glass, I’ve been told. Use what you have, right?  Food-wise, there’s no kitchen, but plenty of pork rinds. There was a crock pot in the back of the room which implies that people might sometimes bring food. There’s also a jar of pickled eggs, but I don’t know if they’re sustenance or ambience. We stuck around for a while because the company was good (Beerologists meet the Bar Belle? Brilliant!) and the drinks were cheap, and in doing so, we met a couple of real characters. 

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I grew up in a small town in SOKY- you know, the kind with a church, an elementary school, and a gas station. The crowd kind of felt like that crowd. Specifically, I was reminded of the guys who were across the street at the gas station smoking cigarettes and shooting the shit while all the “decent folk” were at church. It’s not where I’d look for a date, but conversation was pretty good- completely different from our usual social set. 

First there was Dennis. The bar-tender told me she’d seen him on the corner with a cardboard sign, but never in the bar before, and asked multiple times if he was bothering me, but Dennis was no trouble at all. He was a weathered fellow with a good heart who kept us laughing- the type who loses his cane multiple times and lights the wrong end of a cigarette, calling it a “candle.” He begged us all to sing karaoke, but we are generally adamant about remaining spectators, not participants, in that game. Besides, Dennis was a far more entertaining singer than we could hope to be. 

Then there was a lady who I’ll call “Delta Dawn,” because I never caught her name, but that’s what she sang. Delta Dawn and I had one of the stranger and more awkward conversations of my life. She opened with, “You’re all gay, right?” I told her I’m not, but the other one is. Then Delta Dawn asked me, “Why do you wanna hang out with gay people? Don’t that hurt your chances with men?” I live in a liberal bubble, I know, but that struck me as absurd! It also pointed out to me that this may not be the place to take your more falmboyant friends.
On second thought, though, I don’t think Delta Dawn meant any harm. She was just trying to understand. Maybe it was me who wasn’t being understanding. One way or another, these drinks are for expanded horizons. 

April 5, 2009 Posted by | Camp Taylor | , , , , | Leave a comment