Sondra's Visit and a Tour of Rochester Bars

My best friend Sondra stopped in for the weekend (after [and before] highly annoying air travel). She was in town to wrap up things with her old house in Palmyra but we got to go out and hit the town. We started at my house then decided to change the scenery. I started out with Abeline Bar and Lounge (153 Liberty Pole Wy., formerly Tara) just in case it opened early, but it doesn't. So we decided to hit our old haunt, Monty's KrownMySpace link (875 Monroe Ave.) Surprisingly it was closed — now this is … er … was no ordinary bar. I recall seeing people having beers out on the sidewalk as early as noon some days … typically more like 2 or 3 p.m. though. On this day, they were completely closed. As a substitution, we tried Monty's Korner (355 East Ave.) but it was closed too. Same with Mex (295 Alexander St.) We gave up and stopped by Ali's to say hi before heading to The Distillery (1142 Mount Hope Ave.) which — being a restaurant as well — was certainly going to be open, and indeed it was.

We had a couple margaritas and caught up with stuff as we often do (except over the phone usually). Next stop was Solera Wine BarMySpace link (647 South Ave.) where we met up with Ali. The three of us split a couple bottles of wine and two of their delicious cheese boards. It was getting late by then and we tried Betty Meyer's Bullwinkle Café (622 Lake Ave., a.k.a. "Bullwinkle's") but it was closed — as rumors go, I'm pretty sure it's done. [I'll have to stop by Betty's house at some point — which is coincidentally not far from where I live — and find out the deal.] So we headed back to The Flat Iron CaféMySpace link (561 State St.) but it wasn't open yet — and by now it was closing in on 11 p.m. As a consolation, we checked out this ultimate dive of a country music bar called Sandra's Saloon (276 Smith St.) As places like this go, the bartender and owner was a kind woman and the patrons kept to their own. It was actually quite nice, and the band was really good, too.

To wrap things up, we stopped by Abeline Bar and Lounge (153 Liberty Pole Wy., formerly Tara). This time it was open, and by now the band had finished. We chatted with the bartender a bit and tried their absinthe. Alas, it was more like a licorice liquor than absinthe — flavor-wise it was pretty close to what we'd had in the past, but mild-hallucination wise, not so much.

Sondra had to get up early to make her flight: as in, leave the house at 4:30 a.m. So we said our goodbyes before crashing at my house. In a tale for another day, she did eventually make it back to Colorado.

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Abeline is a cozy place to visit

So I stopped by Solera Wine BarMySpace link (647 South Ave.) and was talking with the owner, John Fanning. He gave rave reviews of this place called Abeline Bar and Lounge (153 Liberty Pole Wy., formerly Tara) — noting that it had very little traffic but could be a trendy hang-out. He had talked with Abeline's owner and commented that the location didn't get much traffic; the reply was something to the effect of "well, it's here and people will figure that out".

Anyway, I headed over and ran into a friend and shot some pool. The Park Avenue BandGarageBand link was playing until late so — unlike what John said — the place was pretty packed. The beer selection is quite good: bottles only, except for one beer on tap. I can imagine that it would definitely be a neat place to hand out on an off-night. When there's a band, it's a bit … umm … intimate.

I was only at Tara once and that was years ago, but I think the layout is pretty much the same. I think the lights are brighter at Abeline and the men in the posters generally have shirts on.

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