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Sanctuary Bars
Ghetto Drinking Establishments

In a lot of your city neighborhoods bars are basically a refuge from the outside world.

As long as you’re a relatively cool guy that minds his own business, stays in his own lane, you’ll have no trouble, unless you start it. Nothing is guaranteed, but relaxed and easy is generally how it is. People want to leave all the bull shit out the door.

You get out in the more rural areas you’ll see some bars like that, but also there are rowdier places, where guys get in fights. They have their charm too, but are a different kind of bar. You will find more women in the rowdier places, but you can have good luck in any of them. Usually, where you have music, women gravitate there. In the sanctuary bar you will find an older type of woman. To party, young women go to a club bar and you always want to avoid the club scene, especially in the city.

The sanctuary bar is the place you go after work. Walk in and you’ll see a lot of guys that have an old lady at home, have a couple happy hour drinks and head on home.

The trouble in the sanctuary bar is coming and going, those hoodrats that will try and get you. The guys in there—even in the worse neighborhoods—are generally not a problem.

A guy named Pops, once told me down at Brennen’s, “If you kick my ass you look like an asshole for beating an old man. If I kick your ass then you’re a real asshole!”

Which fairly exemplifies the attitude of guys in a sanctuary bar, working men looking for a reason not to have a fight as opposed to looking for an excuse to fight.

The 19th Hole [one of the author's father's hangouts in the 1960s], I went to in my 30s. They buzz you in. It’s not as touchy as some city joints. It’s a refuge bar, older guys from the neighborhood, stragglers in from the golf course, taking their life in their hands to go over there and have a drink. The main place you have to worry about in Baltimore, as far as drinking establishments is “The Club” where the young hoppers go and unless you are some kind of windu, into rap, there is no reason to go to those places.

When Your Job Sucks

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