I ventured into the Northland last night to meet some friends for a couple of drinks. You see, they're northlanders and they wanted to go someplace near them and they know the owners of Boomer's Bar and Grill. Since inviting me was more of an afterthought my opinions weren't considered. As mentioned previously, I've never been to the Northland alone and I was frightened. I even blocked out about an hour of time in case I got lost.
I got off Broadway (or 169, I don't think that stretch of road deserves a highway designation) at Barry Road. I have a theory that everything of consequence in the Northland is either on Barry, Oak Tfwy or Vivion Rd, and my experience last night rang true. I was going to 79th and Oak in Kansas City or something like that. Getting off Broadway was like taking a step back in time. At the corner was some ratty looking abandoned mall with a Montgomery Ward in it. I know the store was closed but didn't Montgomery Ward liquidate like 8 years ago. Seriously, maybe they should consider taking the signs down. Further down Barry Rd. was a Color Tile. I didn't know that Color Tile was still in business. I'd never actually thought about it, but I haven't seen a Color Tile store or commercial in a really long time.
I made my way to Oak and made the right turn and suddenly I felt as though I was back in my hometown of Wichita. Everything looked old and rundown, kind of like Wornall south of 75th Street for those not familiar with either Wichita or the Northland.
Boomer's was on the right hand side of the street, smack dab in the middle of a rundown strip mall. It actually looked pretty decent with one of those strip mall gated patios and nice professional signage. I walked in and confirmed that I had gone back in time as I was greeted by a wall of smoke. I hate to keep bringing up Wichita, but it really reminded me of walking into Heroes in Old Town Wichita when I was in college. A horseshoe shaped bar was in the middle of the northern wall sticking out to about the middle of the bar. On the other side of the bar were 2 or 3 pool tables. Lining the south wall were about 8 really nice dart boards with video displays. I felt like buying a pack of cigarettes since it appeared that I would be the only one in the bar on this evening not smoking a heater.
My friends, Miller Lite and Dirty Olive were already there sitting in a booth in the corner. I sat down and wondered to myself if we actually had waiter service because it didn't appear that we did. Dirty Olive had a dirty martini sitting in front of her but Miller Lite didn't have a drink yet. Finally, the waitress, Meredith came over. I had her run down the taps and I was less than impressed. Something like Bud, Bud Light, Miller Lite and Boulevard Wheat. I was a little surprised that Busch or Busch Light didn't make the roster.
I went with the Wheat, what choice did I have? When Meredith brought my beer it had chunks of beer ice in it. Apparently in this Northland bar the patrons like their beer super cold, their air really smoky and their hair short on top and long in the back. I finished my beer in approximately 4 seconds. Unfortunately it wasn't a real beer, the mugs they use at Boomer's hold as much fluid as a 3 year old, I estimated about 12 ounces. I thought I was going to have order these things 2 at a time. I found out that Miller Lite draws were $1.50 (just like the '9o's) so I figured I may as well switch since I'm going be chewing a good portion of each one because of the frozen mug issue. Quality wasn't going to matter much, may as well go with cheap.
Corona Light and Muddy Mo showed up. Muddy also went with the Boulevard Wheat as his first choice and quickly realized that it was going to be a mistake to continue drinking them. He switched off to a Miller Lite too. Corona Light disappointed everyone (really only me) by ordering Bud Light draws.
Muddy Mo had finally had enough Miller Lite shots after 2 or 3 and he asked Meredith what they had in bottled beer. The selection sounded like they had been beer shopping in a Kansas grocery store. Mo went with a Killian's Red. Since he was paying by the beer Meredith told him that it was $2. They had bought a bunch of Killian's Red for St. Patrick's Day and were trying to get rid of it. While Killian's Red is not a great beer, it is better than Miller Lite and well worth an extra 50 cents. When Meredith came back I ordered a Clearance Beer. I kept my mug so I wouldn't be pouring my beer into liquid hydrogen and I could enjoy a beer without crunching any ice. This confused Meredith, I'm not sure that anyone had challenged the Boomer's system of serving frozen beer. I'm sure that they just assumed that I was from Johnson County and brought my Johnson County ways with me. I'm like the Johnson County version of Marco Polo only I won't be bringing back Northland traditions to Johnson County.
Boomer's had a pretty standard bar menu. I went with the Boomer's sliders although the tacos in a tub made me laugh (because of Northland tradition of In-A-Tub). Apparently tacos and tubs go together like biscuits and gravy in the Northland. The sliders were actually really good. They were just the right size with a toasted bun so there was just enough crunch texture to contrast the meaty texture of the hamburger. I may even become hungry for those sliders again this week.
About 7:00 the dartboards started lighting up. It was league night and these dart players were really good. I saw a lady (I'm using that term loosely) throw 3 double bulls in a round. I don't think I've ever seen anyone do that, much less a lady just a whisper taller than 5 feet and heavier than me (I'm over six feet and haven't been accused of being skinny this millennium).
I must say, aside from the beer selection, Boomer's was a pretty good bar. I don't think they're losing too much business for serving mass produced beer at a temperature that wouldn't seem warm on Jupiter. The food was pretty good and Meredith was a very nice waitress even if she didn't call me hon.
Note: One of my daughters published this post as I was typing so RSS readers got only half the version and one with bad grammar, misspellings and a penis joke (if you're interested in the penis joke email me).