Inevitable Coffee Ring

The Espresso Shot (#029)

Beef With Cheddar Makes It Better at Clark’s Ale House

Sometimes a writer needs a place to sit, abandon the coffee or tea and opt for a cask craft, to look at a piano and stare at it and debate whether to play it. Sometimes this place is not the most conventional or the most quiet (but has its moments), but there is a comfortable  seat available in a quiet nook. And if food is either not an option or you’re full, a handful of peanuts is within an arms reach. The cracking of the legumes not only disrupts silence, but it is a stress reliever: and there is a just reward within the shell of constructive channeling. And this is the only beginning of Clark’s Ale House.

 Beef With Cheddar Makes It Better


The cracking of the legumes not only disrupts silence, but it is a stress reliever.
Photo by Christopher Malone

I finally visited Clark’s this past week, twice. Paul was in town from Albany, and the decision was only necessary: beef, beer, banter — the usual Saturday night ritual we’d always do prior to Clark’s closing its doors in 2010. We and other M.O.S.T. coworkers would hop over to the Jefferson location after work hours clicked to zero. It was both of our first times back in the walls of the restaurant, which has stepped up its English style pub appeal. Although mixed reviews circulated the area regarding the infamous sandwich — It’s not the same, quoth many — due to the lack of cheddar (at first), the change from red to white onion, and (the biggie) opting for the kummelweck roll instead of the beloved onion roll.

And these food decisions had to be made by somebody. While people will feel going with such options may or may not be the best thing, Clark’s decision maker — after biting their lip and maybe closing their eyes when drawing a piece of paper from a hat — is left accepting a range of feedback. I could have probably eaten three roast beef sandwiches to make up for lost time. While walking by the bussed dishes, even the remnants of the beef almost coaxed me into pulling a “George Costanza.” To go along with the grub: the Good Nature cask brown ale. Casks are a guaranteed choice: I feel the room temperature beer offers more flavor than beer served cold. Frankly, aside my caring less for the caraway fruits, the sandwich is still delicious.

Food options can easily be changed down the road.

The view from upstairs at Clark's Ale House Photo by Christopher Malone

The view from upstairs at Clark’s Ale House
Photo by Christopher Malone

The second outing to Clark’s was with another friend, Laura, on Tuesday. We managed to utilize the early-winter blowing winds well enough for a safe landing in front of the English-styled pub. The bartender told us to enjoy the upstairs.

Wait … What? Upstairs?

During the conversation with Paul, we failed to realize that this new-and-improved Clark’s also has an upstairs, which has walls slathered in what seems to be original bookshelf wallpaper. It’s quaint, the lighting is soft, and the chairs are a little creaky — a triple-effort team that defines the aura. It’s perfect for a great birds-eye-view of the pub life within those walls. In reference to the layout, Laura suggested we play a game that required the participants to not touch the ground.

Another remnant of the original Clark’s: Chalk boards sit above the urinals.

And the quiet atmosphere is perfect. The distraction-less, no-television, no-music Clark’s Ale House stays consistent with its encouraging raw conversation — what society was founded on, how communities and ideas blossom. Yet, the incorporation of smart phones “enhance” a foursome’s outing more than they should. Laura is right: bringing a book, computer, pen and pad, and cards or a game when out with a group of friends can help keep electronics at bay.

But as it is, Clark’s offers plenty of nooks to hide away in. An introvert would love to spend time in the upstairs, cozy and getting some type of work done. There is also that another nook in the front that is perfect for window gazing and greeting/sending off those passing through the door.

There is a personal guarantee to leave with intention of coming back again, and again, and …

The Inevitable Coffee Ring

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