"You should call it 'Chasing Down the Blues,' said Vinnie. It's the name of my column for the print edition for this week's review of Mickey's Bar. After a night of telling me his life's story, he half-joking suggested it for his memoirs.
I'd been wanting to write about biker bars since I moved here, since I'm drawn to the stories of those who hang out in them.
On the heels of an exploration of two technical columns on why Floridians don't eat Florida seafood, I wanted to write something more impressionistic and expressive.
I wavered between a Sunday at Flossie's and Mickey's Bar (and visited both). After learning more about the owners, I leaned toward a portrayal of owners Lisa and Dave, particularly since Dave loves the bar so much and can't be there, as he recovers from a bike accident.
Vinnie and Rebecca were the clinchers. The two were among the most open, kind, and interesting characters I've met in my work here so far.
I was kind of nervous walking in to a biker bar solo on a rainy night.
They immediately broke the ice. "I'm Vinnie," he says, extending his
hand. "Welcome to Mickey's." His
breast pocket was stuffed with a handful of pens, a tool, and a
flashlight. He had been there since he got off work. It was around 8 p.m.
"This is Donna," he
says, pointing to a good-looking 30-something woman in a black tank top
and jeans next to him. "And the bartender's ReBreastra, but I'm the only
one who can call her that." Rebecca asked my drink and poured me a shot of Jameson.