The following is the original and the rewrite can be found by clicking here.
Easily missed from the main street if you are not looking carefully; its only marker is a Carlsberg beer sign high over the alcove to the entrance. If not for the neon OPEN sign and THE HOLE IN THE WALL embossed in gold on a window tucked back in the shadows, you would not know it is there. It may seem you should go down the stairs but don't - That is not the way in.
Inside, the space is narrow and long, with the bar along one wall. There is a rustic feel to the space with the wooden floor, the brickwork walls, and the back lit stained glass over the bar; all complimented by the eclectic style of the booths, the art on the wall, and the music in the background... there is a warmth that invites you to take a seat and sample the many craft beers, try the cocktails they can make or enjoy the food they offer - An oddly familiar sensation of being in a speakeasy takes hold; a bygone era that with a little imagination becomes real.
The people come in waves, leaving the bar empty one moment and full the next. Standing room only on a Friday or Saturday night with live music filling the air, only ever escaping into the street when the door is opened.
It is a place I keep returning to (alone or with friends), as if being seduced by a forbidden lover.
I would not go so far as to say I am a "regular" but there was one time my beer was poured and in front of me as I sat down; a brown ale called 10w30 from a local craft brewery. It is my beer of choice, Woodford Reserve is my bourbon of choice, and an incredible bacon cheeseburger is my default for food.
It is curious how a place can seize you and create a connection never to be forgotten; The Village Kitchen and Pie Shoppe in California, the Ranstead Room in Philadelphia, the Hotel de la Montagne bar in Montreal*, and now The Hole In The Wall - I will carry them with me always. These places spur on the human condition I suppose... they give us a place to savour all of our senses, be a voyeur or an exhibitionist, remain solitary or be social, and allow for engagement in the conversations that bring us together.
They whisper your name, forever calling you like a great love, "Come join me, I am waiting. We have much to talk about."
Surrender to the seduction, but don't pick just any place.
* I almost broke down and cried when I heard they demolished the Hotel de la Montagne. The bar in the lobby was truly one of a kind.