To begin, this post is in honor of Gunner
, who I'd like to give a hearty congrats for 1) Doing so well in a showcase of what he has done well for so long and 2) For having a post-game celebration which inspired this post through a chain reaction from another post.This guy
has a post in which he references his trip, albeit short, to Athens a day or so ago. Within said post, he mentions a bar that I can single handedly point to as signifying my favorite time in Athens, and probably one of the best (if not the best) periods of time in my life.
A Google Search
of "283 Bar" yields some interesting results
, but doesn't accurately describe the vibe that is contained within those walls. I first started frequenting 283 my first senior year in college when I had recently moved from River Mill Apartments to a much-farther-away-from-downtown place called Deer Park, which happened to be located a long ways down Lexington (and scarily enough, about a mile and a half from the ACC Police Department). I was invited down one evening by someone who at the time was more of a new friend found through a mutual hatred
than a really close personal friend. I went, I hung out, I drank, and I started finding a group of friends that I never thought I would be lucky enough to find. I have been truly blessed by being fortunate in getting to know people
I truly respect and admire
The bar in itself is full of those that feel 283 is their own little slice of town in which the drinks do not trump the fellowship of others or the various styles that converge inside the quite weirdly decorated insides. Those that drank there did so because they could do it without reservations of others looking on and finding out. Think of it as a club that no one really talked about (not like Fight Club), but once you were invited in, you were more than welcome.
When I first went, I'll be honest, I was nervous as hell. I stayed sober most of that first night because I didn't want to get uninvited or be "that guy." What ended up happening slowly is that I got to know how to just chill. I know that sounds cheesy, cliche and stupid, but until then my idea of going downtown was getting ripped out of my mind. I discovered the art of conversation over drinks, which had been attempted before, but it was something that I sucked hardcore at. The things spoken of, ideas dreamed up, and advice given by some was perfect at times and at others had timing that was reminiscent of Colonel Mustard.
My favorite story to recall began one night just like any other when we were at 283. I think it was a Tuesday and I got the phone call around 21:00 saying everyone would be there shortly and I was expected to come. Well, never to be one to disappoint I said "OK" and happened to invite the girl that I had been crushing on hardcore at the time. She tagged along and met us there and the drinks began to flow. This guy
decided at one point after at least number 6 that I should tell her the feelings I had for her. He, obviously being the kind of guy that loves the big moment "John Cusack
" style (much like myself), thought it was a great idea, but decided to tell me to "go all in" while she was sitting right there. Timing, again, was pretty bad. I can remember being pissed, but the next day I took away a different perspective on the whole thing. It was at that point I realized I had become a pretty damn good friend of said "foot in mouther" and I knew this because I told him about the girl. He, being the good person that he is, just wanted me to do the obvious, and even though it didn't work (in fact it failed miserably), his intentions were of someone who actually gave a shit about my general happiness. It probably isn't that great of a story, but trust me, you should've seen the crash and burn. Goose would've been proud.
As I type this I realize that I'm not truly getting my point across about how much I loved that place and how good it made me feel to be a part of it all. I honestly don't think I have the vocabulary to say what I felt when I read the post about revisiting 283 and doing it all over again. It's an empty gratitude that I think most feel but have an awfully hard time explaining. I use that term because you know it'll never be like that again so it leaves you with a hollow feeling, but then you're thankful you had it in the first place. I don't know, maybe only those that have their Athens places and fads that they look fondly upon could probably understand it.
That being said, I hope this year (or next year or whenever) when the stars align and everyone converges back on the Classic City, the first round of drinks are on me. Trust me, it meant a lot to be a part of that and I owe it to those that were kind enough to include me on the activities.
Until next time kids.