Praise the Whisky!

Stained Glass Pub gives you that sanctified feeling, even without the pretty windows

Charity: "Lisa Mueller, one of the place's previous owners, is doing a Pampered Chef party here," said Kerri, her tone becoming slightly more serious. I'd never been to a Pampered Chef party, but I knew that any time my mother went to one, she'd return with everything from fancy Tupperware to extravagant onion-dicing equipment.

"Some of the proceeds go toward the North Broward Children's Hospital."

"Oh?" Chalk up another similarity between churches and bars: charity work. You don't even need stained glass when you have chipper chicks selling serrated knives for sick kids.

"The hospital is amazing — you see these kids wheeling around in their wheelchairs, covered in bandages, but still smiling. And kids you see one day might be gone the next." Normally, I come to bars to forget the woes of the world, but Kerri wasn't having any of that.

"Also, we do a drive here at the bar — we'll take anything, clothes, cosmetics, whatever — to donate."

"Wow, that's really good of you," I said. " 'Tis the season, I guess."

"The other day, someone dropped off a beautiful, green velvet dress," she said. "It's a size 16, and that's good — that way, a smaller kid would be able to get it on over all her bandages."

I've never met such a do-gooder bar owner. Maybe Kerri doesn't even need stained glass to be saintly.

Customers:  Marilyn wore a loose-fitting floral shirt, and long strands of her shiny white hair cascaded down her back. I watched her walk in and hop up on a bar stool, making her look tiny on her perch and almost childlike. Joe, a younger man with cropped dark hair, sat next to her as she sipped her drink.

"So what's so great about this place?" I asked.

"Good friends, good food, good booze," Marilyn said, without missing a beat. "What else do you want from a bar?"

"No, it's actually because Chris is hung like a pony," Joe mock-whispered, pointing at the bartender. "That's why people come here."

"What?" Chris asked, sauntering over.

"He says you're hung like a pony, and that's why he comes in here," I said.

"Oh, stop, you're making me blush," said Chris, fluttering his eyelashes.

"No, that's not why I personally come in here," Joe back-tracked. "That's why the girls come in here."

Marilyn rolled her eyes. "Good friends, good food, and good booze. I've been coming here since 1977."

"Before she was even born," Joe said, thrusting a thumb in my direction.

"So, you remember the stained glass?" I asked Marilyn.

"Yeah, it was beautiful," she said. "When the hurricane hit, I came over to this place every day I didn't have electricity. I needed to get my morning coffee somehow!"

"Coffee?! I'd have wanted vodka!" yelled Joe.

I crawled back over to my booth and found that my drink had been replenished, compliments of Kerri. My companion, while waiting patiently, had nearly a half-drink head start on me. As I watched the Christmas lights on the bar alternate — red and orange blinked to blue, green, and yellow — I changed my mind. I don't need my pub-crawling and praying to overlap. I didn't want to say good riddance, stained glass. But, shoot, religious grandiosity has little to do with the good folks of the neighborhood who just wander in to wet their lips. If Marilyn's been coming in since 1977, the Pub — with its tiki roof, its upbeat staff, and, yes, its penchant for spreading charity — must be doing something right.

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