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Irish-ish

Tomfoolery won’t remind you of Dublin, but that’s not always a bad thing

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See those pennants hanging overhead at this Irish pub? For American football.
Photo: Steve Marcus

Saturday. Busy night for some. Rip Torn is stewing in a Connecticut can, wondering which is worse—getting arrested for breaking into a bank or being mistaken by the media for Rip Taylor. The new Miss America still can’t believe she won. Strategic decisions are being made regarding outfits for the Grammys. And everywhere, chunks of the economy are calving off and floating to China.

Me, though—I’m sitting in a bar, doing not a damn thing, and won’t that make for a fun bar column?

Bar Guide

Tomfoolery
1331 S. Boulder Highway, 307-2144.

Tomfoolery is your standard strip-mall joint, next to a Lowe’s in Henderson, decorated in a thin pretense of Irishness: a few signs for Guinness, Dublin and St. Patrick’s Day among the spackle of otherwise generic knickknacks. More noticeable are the strings of football pennants hanging overhead. American football. A stack of bottles mid-bar is lit with changing colors; above that, flat screens. There’s not a hipster among the 15 or so casually dressed people grouped in threes and fours, talking quietly. A woman I can’t see keeps shouting “Woooo!”

I look up. On the three screens I can see there are a hair-club ad, an insurance gecko and a skateboarding video.

Doing nothing suits us tonight. I mean, there’s plenty we could be doing, that we should be doing—cleaning the house, routine family nurturance or the usual Chicken-Littling about our finances. But we’ve both had a hard week. So as the jukebox coughs up “Bullet With Butterfly Wings” (don’t tell me about “rat in a cage,” Billy Corgan), I draw out my longneck of Miller Lite and my wife, Laura, cycles the same $10 through video poker.

Maybe we’re trying this out as “our” bar, maybe not. We don’t have one; never really have. My wife and I don’t do much barhopping (see family, housecleaning, etc.), but we have spent some time in Irish pubs. Last March 17, we reeled, sober but amazed, through downtown Dublin, packed 600,000 deep with surging, singing, occasionally cross-dressing revelers, until the mass undulation deposited us at the Brazen Head, allegedly Ireland’s oldest pub (“Est. 1198”). Who knows if that’s true. It was wonderful regardless, standing room only, the air filled with Irish exultation, the whole thing so damned authentic you could taste the leprechaun in every Guinness.

I’m not sure what Ireland’s brazen heads would think of Tomfoolery … actually, I am pretty sure. But sometimes—most times—I don’t want to rollick or sing or jostle through 600,000 people, and tonight, at any rate, Tomfoolery is blissfully free of outsized boisterousness.

Woooo!” Well, mostly free.

My wife finally teases just enough out of video poker to recoup her nut and cover the $6.50 tab for our two beers.

While I idly watch the bottles change color, Laura looks around. “You know,” she says, “we’re the oldest people here.” What she’s really saying is that I’m the oldest person here. That guy in the red sweatshirt? Late 30s, possibly 40. Guy throwing darts? “Mid-30s, I’d guess,” my wife says.

“Then again, it’s still early,” she continues. I glance at the time. 10:10. “It’s late!” I insist. “That’s why we’re the oldest people here,” she says, gently.

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