Websters Dictionary defines Wino as a – noun, informal, a person who drinks excessive amounts of cheap wine or other alcohol, especially one who is homeless.
The Urban Dictionary defines Wino as – someone who props up walls in the street, drinking an unidentifiable drink ( it needn’t be wine, could also be special brew, spirits, buckfast or light beer) out of a paper bag whilst swearing incoherently and dribbling.
Well…..I am here to inform you that it need not be the case. It no longer requires strolling through the city under passes enjoying you spirit of choice in brown paper bags. No sir. So the dictionary and thus society says you must be homeless? But why? I can assure you there is a new brand of wino emerging in the community. And I have seen them, I have drunk with them and observed them in what has now been determined to be their natural habitat.
You may be surprised to know I found an entire group of what seemed to be well versed winos, all middle-aged, middle-upper class, well dressed and recently showered folks jamming out to a folk/bluegrass band in none other than a wine bar. That’s right. It was a dim-lit and small rustic styled establishment boasting 20$ glasses of Grenache, hand made barstools made from spruce pine and cocktail tables crafted from salvaged wood by a local craftsman. I can assure you there was no dribbling or paper bags in sight.
It happened early in the evening while leaving the Lexington Ave Brewery. It was a beautifully February day downtown. After two pitchers of “Wave Grain” pale ale, a plate of fancy cheeses and another plate of wonderfully baked blueberry shortbread that was to die for ( we attempted to purchase a 1/2 pound of the shortbread but couldn’t do so due to short supply or something) we found ourselves strolling in the fresh air up a small hill towards this sound. A sound I originally thought was a Ron Burgundy style jazz flute player. It turned out to be a 3 man folk/bluegrass band consisting of a mandolin player, a singer/electric fiddle player named Meade (so awesome!) and a guy on the acoustic guitar. And they bedazzled us in their urban overalls, Nike sneakers and fresh pressed corduroy blazers. It was fantastical!
They played as though no one was listening and as I sipped my glass of Malbec, I was entranced. As was every other person packed in the small space. All slapping away at their knees or tapping a finger on the hand carved wooden tables perfectly buffed and shined. The patrons were a wonderful amalgamation of long-haired 30 somethings just arriving from yoga class and bearded 40 somethings holding their ladies tight in their arms and neatly eating their goat cheese plate. Even better than that was the 50 somethings that had posted up in the corner adjacent to the band playing a friendly game of Rummy over white wine and great music. They even invited our friend to play with them. It was warm and welcoming and the wine kept a flowing.
Reba Macintire was in attendance, or at least her doppelgänger was and I caught a glimpse of a 60-year-old cowboy jiving out like there was no tomorrow.
The wine bar we were at was 5 Walnut and the band was “The Honey Chasers”.
Wanna start down the path of Wino living? Well here are some guidelines to get you started.
A true wino, after enjoying several of glasses of wine that basically add up to an entire bottle, puts cash in the bands tip jar at the end of their set and then proceeds to offer an invitation for drinks at the local dive bar down the road.
Always order wine or an old school cocktail, never order anything with the word “breeze” in it or a “sex on the beach” or you will immediately be asked to leave the Wino facilities.
However never be afraid to enjoy your brew of choice as a good wino bar will almost certainly have great beer options for those out there who prefer that. Apparently beer isn’t frowned upon with this group. 🙂
Always remember Do Not, under any circumstances drink malt liquor of any kind, that doesn’t make you a wino it makes you a fucking hobo. Don’t ask for malt liquor or other spirits that are equally as tacky. They won’t have them anyways.
Enjoy said drinks while listening to live music the likes of folk, flamenco, jazz/exotica, rhumba and of course my favorite, gypsy jazz.
All in all there is a new movement of wino happening, one made up of actual grown ups who shower and jam out to cool jazzy like music while enjoying what most would consider over priced drinks. They are a fabulous bunch that seem rare but are growing in numbers continuously. Sip and enjoy!
Hope you enjoyed this very informative life lesson.