804 E. Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach.
Call 561-272-7272, or visit here.
I pushed through the ancient window-paned doors and stepped into the
Blue Anchor. A blond bartender busied herself wiping glasses; British
accents popped and crackled, mingling with island dialects and "Jeepers
Creepers," the 1930s jazz song that played softly through the
I made my way across the red and green carpet and hopped up to the bar.
Lanterns provided low lighting; red curtains were draped over the
old-fashioned windows; tea kettles hung suspended from the ceiling; and
old-world paintings decorated the walls. A bookshelf ran around the
perimeter of the joint, stacked high with trinkets, old tomes, and decoy
ducks. An assortment of national flags hung in every direction, and the
wooden walls created a historic feeling.
"So what's this I hear about a ghost?" I asked Cheryl, the bartender. She had large moon eyes and short blond hair, wore a sleek all-black ensemble, and spoke with a lovely London brogue.
"Supposedly," she stressed this word while smiling an indulgent grin, "she comes out every night at 10 p.m. Her name is Bertha."
"Bertha sounds very punctual," I commented.
"I'm not sure where she comes from," Cheryl continued. "But supposedly she just appears."
Cheryl went on to tell me about the bar's other draws: "live bands, British football on TV, hand-poured Guinness, traditional food..." she paused. "Oh, and the front part of this bar was brought over from England."
Our conversation was broken up by my eavesdropping on the young man a few stools down from me. He was stubbly with a white ball cap on and was positively yelling into his phone.
"Close your eyes right now and feel the hug. Feel the hug I'm giving you," he was saying.
"Raise both hands. Can you feel the sky?"
So far, we had a "supposedly" haunted British pub populated by cynical (but lovely) bartenders and demon-possessed patrons.
"We're breaking up," he yelled into his cell phone. A pause. Then he laughed. "You're right, Mama. You're so smart. Sometimes I do hang up on you!"
I hopped off my barstool and stalked over to a small table where a middle-aged couple sat. Becky was beautiful, with a round face and clear eyes. Bob was lean and tall, with the kind of speech patterns ("oh boy" and "gosh darn") most commonly found in good fathers who happen to be a bit dorky.
"Boy, this is our favorite place," Bob said. "You can get so many different kinds of good beers here. I'm drinking a Speckled Hen."
"No Coors Light for you two," I joked.
"Not even for me," said Becky. "I'm drinking a half-Harp, half-Guinness."
"Ever had Blue Moon? Boy, that's much heavier," Bob said. "It's got way more calories."
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They told me they were from Boca but staycationing in the Marriott across the street for their anniversary.
"That is so sweet!" I said, melting. I guess their romantic evening was the wrong time to ask this sweet couple to adopt me.
"Yeah, we're kicking the night off right," said Bob, smiling and gesturing to his drink.
Me too, I thought, as I made my way back over to the bar and began studying the dozen or so beer spigots.