Ok, so it’s been over a week now since I’ve been to the pub, and there can only be one person to blame. No, not my wife – actually she’s far from unimpressed at this most unprecedented turn of events.
The reason I haven’t dropped into my local (conveniently named The Local, so as to not needlessly confuse me) is because on very short notice, the owner and proprietor of the establishment selfishly decided to close it down.
For two years this woman (pictured left), working a mere 60 hour week (on Mondays she didn’t even bother to show up at all!) happily took my money and that of many others, offering little in return except cheap drinks, good music and a welcoming, extremely smoky environment in which to relax with good friends.
Then, all of a sudden, having done so little for so long, she has the temerity to just close the place down, leaving in her wake a confused and disoriented ragtag assembly of alcoholics and misfits to fend for themselves. You may have seen some of them lately, scattered around Haebangchon, hastily organising emergency games-nights and dinner parties, or shivering outside the Family Mart, Makeolli in hand, wondering how they might survive the long cold winter. Here are a few of them.
How, for instance could any caring person of repute leave an aging English gentleman, clearly in the middle stages of senility, to wander the dangerous Asian streets and alleys unassisted?
And what of this poor deranged idiot? Word on the street is, he learned in advance of the evil publican’s imminent departure, and fled to Saskatchewan! Who the hell does that!?
I guess I could go on…
It’s not like it was a big pub…
It spilled out into the street sometimes, by night…
…and by day! (Street Beer!!!)
Of course, the resilient residents of Haebangchon are used to change. Everybody living here knows there are risks involved; like for example, the very real possibility of dropping your suit at the dry-cleaner, never to see it again after returning two days later to what has since become yet another burger joint or boutique coffee shop.
So I guess I shouldn’t be too hard in my condemnation of Y.G.Y. After all, two years in Haebangchon is like 300 years in Eastern Turkmenistan (or my home town, come to think of it).
It was by pure coincidence, and thirst I suppose, that I was in fact the first ever customer at The Local, and I am glad to be able to say I was there when the alcohol finally ran out and the looting started last Sunday night.
Fare well on your travels around the world, G.Y. It takes a special kind of publican to maintain a bar that smoky, a bathroom that filthy, and as dedicated an assortment of random weirdos as were always made to feel welcome at your Local.
From my living room now I raise my glass. Cheers.