Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Pub Theater at the Brendan Behan

It's back! Last night I attended the return of Pub Theater at the Brendan Behan Pub in Jamaica Plain. It was actually my first time there, and I have to say that it was pretty much as I imagined from descriptions I'd heard. No frills, no fuss, no kitchen, no attitude, no TV, no video games... just a bar, a couple of tables, beer, whiskey, friends, and conversation. What more do you need from a neighborhood bar, really? I'd go again in a heartbeat!

The walls inside are plastered with all sorts of memorabilia from events over the course of the BB's existence making it feel as though I were living a little piece of history by simply being there. I liked that when I asked the bartender for a whiskey, she poured me a Jameson without asking any questions as if it were the only whiskey they served. They have a good selection of beers in bottle and draft: Longtrail, Brooklyn, Dogfish, Samuel Smith, Franziskaner, and of course Guinness to name a few. They had decorated for the holidays and there was lots of tinsel everywhere and ornaments hung from the ceiling. The atmosphere was cozy, warm, welcoming, and it made us feel like settling in and having a few pints. It was the perfect place to be on a rather blustery evening.

Two plays were performed that night. A Pound on Demand by Sean O'Casey and Thirst by Flann O'Brien. Both were short one act comedies performed by the Siamsa Theatre (of Boston). There's a tradition of Pub Theater at the BB that goes back to 1995, but it's apparently been on hiatus for some time now. I'm glad for the return! My friends Meghan and Nick and I arrived a little early to be sure to get a seat, and I'm glad we did because the place was filling up fast. It also gave us a chance to talk with friends Paul and Dermot who were unexpectedly in attendance as well. Paul is now the bar manager at the BB and he was kind enough to buy us a round of beers! His hospitality has always been unrivaled ever since I've known him.

There were close to 75 people in the small BB. To increase seating, they actually closed the bar during the performances and invited folks to sit right down on the bar top to see the play. What fun! Both plays were well done and we giggled at the stereotyped roles spun out over the course of the evening. The depiction of the "love-hate" relationship between the cop and the bartender in Thirst was especially hilarious and well-played. Come to find out, both were written in the 40's and meant to be performed in pubs for pint-drinking audiences, so it was a good fit.

I'm hoping they will continue this trend. For only $7 we saw two great new (to us) little plays. Pub Theater Night could make for a nice once-a-month outing. Given the chance, I'd be sure to return for more. Sláinte!

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