You’d never hear me complain about the abundance of watering holes on Foster. Nor would I argue they’re a detriment to the neighborhood, although it’s questionable sometimes. The fact is, if they weren’t supported by the neighborhood, they wouldn’t be in business (well, at least if it weren’t for those slot machines).
And while many desperately crave for a little more balance (hint: more food and other shopping options) on Foster, there does appear to be a benefit to the neighborhood (selfish reasons not included). For example, Bar Carlo has provided a space for crafters to gather on a weekly basis; several Foster Road bars have offered their walls for local artists to display their work; and then there are the opportunities for trivia, live music, and community meetings and events space that many of our bars have made available to its neighbors. The offering is also, more importantly, that place to unwind and relax outside of the home and workplace…the so-called “third space.”
A recent article by The Atlantic touches on the same idea, and even goes as far as to tout a good bar as essential to sustainable communities. The article doesn’t say that several bars are necessarily good for a neighborhood, but the argument for good gathering spaces that combine comfort, familiarity, and availability after working hours in a place that is not necessarily with coworkers or family is important…although they can and do intersect. They are places where your ideas for neighborhood improvements are shared; where you gossip; unload your burdens from the work day; find familiarity away from home and work. While these all sound like good excuses to share with an AA sponsor, it isn’t drinking that’s being encouraged; rather, the value of a good neighborhood bar is being validated.
And lucky for those of you living on the edges of Foster Road, in Mt. Scott-Arleta and Foster-Powell, there are plenty of “third spaces” to choose from. Again, there isn’t an argument being made for the quantity, and we can’t endorse the quality, for that matter, across the board, but the bars on Foster do serve a purpose and have a place in the sustainability of our community
So what is your preferred “third space?” What bars are making Foster-Powell and Mt. Scott-Arleta rad?