First off, I had a great night there tonight for the first time in ages. It began when I went in and discovered they have in fact gotten rid of the bartender that drove most people away, myself included. Another Matt is now in place, and they've got a cook who seems to know what he's doing. Even Bill Curtis himself seemed to be happy with the way things are going. He stopped me in the street to make sure I knew that Spaten Octoberfest is currently on tap.
I went in tonight after the kids were asleep as I wanted to just go out. I don't have time to go out much anymore, and frankly, at 35, I don't know to do when I do go out. I did have a good time at Court Square Tavern during my birthday surprise party, but I've been reluctant to go back in part because of the former bartender, who I witnessed running so many people out of there.
Court Square Tavern is never going to be perfect. I doubt we'll see it on a Best Of list anytime soon, and there is much to be snarky about. But, to me, the place has been in business for 32 years. Before that, it was another bar going back, I guess, to the beginnings of the Monticello Hotel which I believe was built in 1925.
It hurt that I couldn't go in there and just relax. It hurt that the bartender exuded so much negative energy. When the place reopened, it had so much going for it. No smoking. Wi-Fi. A deeper menu (which, admittedly, is more of an illusion). Yet, I remember being in there one night, relaxing, and my Charlottesville Tomorrow intern was having a difficult time getting any kind of service without extreme attitude. I complained at the time, but it didn't take.
So, this is my official announcement that things might be okay there now, and I'm certainly going to have to adjust my budget accordingly. Bill let me sample a Scottish brew, Red McGregor, and it was incredibly enjoyable. He gave me an interesting perspective on the future of Monticello, and we ended up having a great chat about energy policy.
What I like best about Court Square Tavern is the ability to sit there and have a conversation. The music isn't loud. Service isn't obnoxious. And, you get the sense that all of this has happened before, and that all of this will happen again.