Yeah! I slept really well and wake refreshed. Ready for some brekkie.
As soon as I get out of the lift, a smell hits me that gets my mouth watering: fried bacon. They've bacon, scrambled egg and breakfast potatoes today. That'll do me. Breakfast just isn’t breakfast without bacon.
Breakfasted, I struggle with my flip-flop. Stupid fucking Windows is trying to apply updates again. It did the same yesterday: buggered around for hours before failing and then reverting to the previous version. This is despite Dolores disabling automatic updates before I left. God, Windows is fucking annoying. I hope it doesn't do the same shit tomorrow when I need to check out.
Around noon I head to Brew Hub, where I plan having a couple of beers. It doesn't look very open. Because it isn't. Monday they're closed. Damn.
Instead, I decide to drink the bottle of beer given to me by the Dovetail people yesterday. From bitter experience, I decide it's safer to open it in the bathroom. A wise choice, as it gushes a little. It's a cross between a Rauchbier and a Flemish Brown. But quite nice - much better than it sounds. The Flemish Brown part is the more prominent. Interesting and tasty.
I head off at 1 PM, taking a taxi. Where I'm heading - Urban Chestnut - isn't that far. But I don't fancy the walk. US cities often aren't the nicest places to take a stroll. I used to get funny looks when I walked to the local supermarket in Staten Island. People find it suspicious. Why aren’t you in a car like everyone else?
The taxi ride only takes a couple of minutes. I get out at Urban Chestnut, but don't go in. I'm going a bit further down Manchester Avenue. To a pub, obviously. Layla, to be precise.
Most of the seats at the bar are occupied by diners, though I manage to squeeze in between them. It’s not the most massive selection of draughts. But I’m cool with that. Once a list gets over 50 I find it impossible to process. Just too much choice.
Layla offers the odd combination of falafel, shawarma and burgers. Plus crafty beers and cocktails.
There's a Matrix film on the TV. The one with all the ridiculous fighting with exoskeleton machine gunners. What utter bollocks. I still keep glancing at it, mind.
There are three young women lunching with a slightly older man. They barely look of legal drinking age. Though they must be as they have beers in front of them. From the scraps of conversation that drift my way they appear to all work at another bar.
After a while the lunchers depart - including the young women - and I'm on my own. Just me the barman and my beer. I don’t mind. I hate crowds.
At 4 PM I troll over to Urban Chestnut, grab a beer and ask for Adam, the retail manager. He isn't around, so I talk to someone else instead. Soon he reappears with the box of my books. They’d been at the back of the room where the talks were. Just no-one told me.
"I was wondering if you'd like to buy some, seeing as I missed the chance to sell them yesterday. How about ten. I'll sign them."
"I think we can do that."
While he's away fetching the money, Mark Dredge appears. We start chatting and the bloke reappears with a cheque.
"That's literally no use to me. None of my banks accept cheques."
He returns a couple of minutes later with cash. That’s much better.
I get myself some food. Meatball sandwiches. Pretty nice, but a bit too salty for my taste. Not quite as good as those Dolores makes. I’m spoilt, I know.
Florian turns up to be interviewed by Mark. I discretely transfer myself to the bar to allow them some privacy. I have a beer in my hand so I'm happy.
When the interview is done, I rejoin them for some more beer. Urban Chestnut Lagers: Dunkles then Schwarzbier. Really good stuff. With a genuine German flavour. Not surprising, given Florian's Bavarian origin.
After Florian leaves, Mark and I drink a little more beer. Around 8, Mark heads back towards his hotel. While I finish my beer. Then order a final one.
I ask the girl at the merchandise stall to order me a taxi. It takes a while to turn up. I don't really care. I'm in no rush.
Back in my hotel, I watch a little TV then crash out. It's been a fun, but not too strenuous day. Sleep stretches out her hand and lovingly brushes my cheek. A good sign. Maybe she won't fuck me around tonight.
4317 Manchester Ave,
St. Louis, MO 63110.
Tel: +1 314-553-9252
Urban Chestnut Grove Brewery and Bierhall
4465 Manchester Ave,
St. Louis, MO 63110.
Phone: +1 314-222-0143
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