It wasn't the rich selection of craft beers that attracted us. In fact, the beer selection was average at best -- and it was still better than the food selection, which is not saying much. But what did draw us -- like a moth to the flame -- was the overwhelming sense of history the bar holds.
As we sat in the Menger Bar, the very same place that Teddy Roosevelt recruited many of the men who went on to fame and greater accomplishments as the Rough Riders, we were drawn inextricably back into our nation's past -- the bar as community center. The Menger is the oldest continually operating bar in the State of Texas, and supposedly an exact replica of London's House of Lords pub. Built in 1887, the bar showcases a rich cherry wood paneled ceiling and beveled mirrors from France. Dark and full of atmosphere, we gladly traded off the lack of a decent craft beer for ceiling fans spinning slowly round and Linda Ronstadt keeping time with "Love is a Rose" on the jukebox.
|Teddy Was Here|
We did indulge briefly -- that's why we went to the bar, of course. But back in Texas, we easily returned to old habits, and ordered a particularly Texan favorite: the Chelada. Served over the rocks in a glass rimmed with salt, the chelada boats a jigger of fresh lime juice, a cold beer (the brand isn't that important), celery salt, and a dash of heat. The earthiness of the celery salt is a perfect foil for the sweetness of the lime, and the heat is only marginally offset by the coolness of the beer over ice. The salted rim keeps you coming back for more, which we did time and again.
Did we mention we liked this place?
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