Something terrible has recently come to my attention. In one of the great mistakes of my life, I somehow managed to not yet write a Hipster Shreveport review of Bear's on Fairfield. I couldn't believe it. I searched through the blog archives and looked everywhere on my computer--even in the hidden special folders--and yet, it was true. I missed countless opportunities to review Shreveport's one great hipster bar. Maybe I didn't review it because, subconsciously, I didn't want it to go mainstream and thus lose its hipster appeal. Or maybe I just wanted to make a half a hundred visits to make sure it deserved the praise I was going to pile on. Whatever the reason, it was a mistake. Please, allow me to correct that egregious oversight.
First things first: this is not a bar for hairy gay men. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
Any longtime Shreveport denizen will at least know <i>of</i> Bear's, even if they maybe haven't been for a visit. Occupying an old, Tudor-style building near the intersection of Fairfield and I-20, it's hard to miss seeing it. And yet, with very little signage, it's also easy to look right past it, to see it without observing it.
I don't know how long this space has been occupied by a bar/restaurant called Bear's (it's been a long time), but I do know that the current iteration just recently celebrated their first year of business. And it has been a great year (for me, at least).
When I walked in for the first time, still feeling pangs of homesickness for Chicago, I immediately knew I would like it there. The brick walls, high ceilings, and worn industrial aesthetic are immediately evocative of my favorite Wicker Park watering holes.
These are places where you check your pretensions (and Ed Hardy/Affliction) at the door. Where you go to relax and enjoy a cold drink. Even if your drink of choice is out of stock; the libations available are a rotating selection of whatever they remembered to order, and it's almost guaranteed that at some point they will be out of what you want. PBR is about the only guaranteed choice, but even that's been out at times. The same applies to the kitchen. The food menu covers all the usual bar foods, with one amazing exception: fried jambalaya balls. These little guys are damn near transcendent, but not always available. If you're lucky enough to be there when they're cooking them, make an order. Or two.
If drinking in silence isn't your thing, they've got you covered there, too. Bear's has seemingly made it their mission to put Shreveport on the love music map. In fact, I recently <a href="https://twitter.com/hpstrshreveport/status/365674617307799552"> tweeted </a> that Shreveport was making a strong case for its live music scene. I wrote that while at Bears. Every night they're open, there's music. Jim Reed, the booking coordinator, does a great job of scheduling a wide range of acts, locals and touring bands alike. (Jim also emcees the best trivia night in town on Thursday nights. 7:30ish, check the Bears Facebook page for details).
If there is any criticism to make of the place, it's the bike parking. There isn't any, except for a solitary signpost out front. Which is reserved for me. Seriously, I'm thinking about having a sign made. Although I have seen bikes parked inside, so if you ask nicely, they'll probably let you bring the bike inside.
In case the reverential tone of this post wasn't clear enough: 5 out of 5 PBR cans.
* Disclaimer: I've plagiarized a few pictures from the Bears Facebook page for this post. If I used yours and you don't like it, let me know, I'll take it down.
** Disclaimer #2: this is my first post written by iPhone, so it may be full of typos.