By: Raul Parra
Email: rp@99sportsproblems.com
Twitter: ParraPalliative

I want to root for Brixie’s (9526 W Ogden, Brookfield, IL, 1.708.387.0050). I really do. Any bar that has the cojones to have 32 different craft beers on tap and over 40 some-odd beers in bottles and cans, deserves to be applauded in my book.

However, like most modern bars that I have been encountering lately, they are going through an identity crisis.

Is it a classic Bar and Grill? Their kitchen is capable of delivering scrumptiously juicy burgers and crispy hand cut fries, if it’s open and if they have a cook employed at the moment. Sometimes it seems as if Bobby Fischer mans the grill in the kitchen, I’m always searching for him. Which is a shame because I want to be stuffing a Brixie Burger into my already french fried greased mouth. Alas, it seems as if the proprietors of this sagging establishment are putting me on a forced diet that could have only come from the depths of a Nazi’s brain. You are only allowed to smell the fryers and grill top wafting the spirits of meals past into the air, don’t ask for one; or the Gestapo will come round back and kidnap you!

Is it a sports bar? They have TVs and a projection screen and they use these devices to display sporting events. Yet, certain bartenders tend to play their music through an Ipod during sporting events, instead of the game audio. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you’ll get to experience the horrible hippie, trip hop, first wave of ska bullshit that said bartender plays. It’s awful, it sounds as if Dave Mathews is shitting on Bob Marley in a reverb chamber and the Sex Pistols are running the sound board.

Look, I am a musician and I have been in plenty bands, I had to learn from experience. Music is a lot like religion, if you are not already into it, no one wants a stranger shoving it their face like chloroform soaked rag. People like what they like. No one at a bar cares what the bartender is “in to.” Especially if you’re there to watch “the game.”

Side note: If you are in a band and you’re fortunate enough to have stumbled across our world changing Blog, hear me and hear me well. Never grace the stage at Brixie’s. Their lack of basic acoustic knowledge transforms you into a low-fi 8 track tape playing out of a Omni, inside of Osama Bin Laden’s cave of death, moments before the Seals dropped down and gave him the old “What For”. It’s basically a giant cave that swallows vocals, thins out guitars and makes drums sound like tin cans.

Anywho… I digress.

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Is it a place to check out cool and interesting craft brews? It certainly could be. I didn’t stutter, mainly because that’s impossible to do in print, 32 DIFFERENT CRAFT BEERS… 32 cervezas artesanales diferentes … XXXII VARIIS ARS BEERS. Someone clearly loves to get their beer on. However, where is that person? Besides having the latest brew shoved in my face, it’s rare that I would have a single conversation with a bartender (Save Bruce) about the complexities of… let’s say… a stout. I almost always feel lost when I approach the altar of beer that is their tap selection. I wish I had a Phantom Beer Genius there to hold my hand and tell me:

Phantom Beer Genius: “Everything is going to be ok… here hold this Dog Fish Head 120 Minute…. feels good right? Go on take a sip. Did you know that 120 Minute IPA is brewed to a colossal 45-degree plato, boiled for a full two hours while being continuously hopped with high-alpha American hops, then dry-hopped daily in the fermenter for a month and aged for another month on whole-leaf hops!”

Raul: “Wow, this is delicious and you are so imformative thank you so much.”

Phantom Beer Genius: “No problem Raul, this is my job and I enjoy it. By the way, knock knock…

Raul: “Who’s there?”

Phatom Beer Genius: ” Your friend the Phantom Beer Genius and I’ll always be here for you.”

Doesn’t that sound amazing?

So am I dissing the Bro’s over there by da Brixie’s? Kinda… but kinda ‘nah. I think it is just suffering from a symptom of the times. Bars trying to cater to every single type of drinker out there instead of letting their freak flags wave high.

If you want to be the bro bar with college games blarring over the TV’s and people still pretending to be in their mid to late 20’s, tongue banging jello shots into their suck holes while simultaneously taking stock of their GHB stash in the cut out hole of their Birkenstocks. Go for it.

Do you want to be that creepy Mexican bar on the corner next to the Botanica, that you’re white friends are scared to go in because they play “Mariachi Music” till 3 a.m. and they heard everyone in there has a knife? Go for it.

Have aspirations of being the bar with no sign? Serving traditional, Post-Civil-War… yet Pre-Yoko-Beatles-Era Martinis? Go for it!

Just whatever you are or trying to be.. be true and pick SOMETHING. You can’t do everything or at least you can’t do everything well. Give your bar a personality and hopefully that personality is akin to you and your staff members. Your patrons want to be a part of your story, now give us the plot so we can play along.

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