Let that sink in for a bit.
I first heard the news a few weeks ago, and while I was bummed to hear it, the news didn't sink in at first. Even last night, after attending (and losing--again) their last trivia night, it still had not hit me. It wasn't until this morning, when I told a story that started, "this one night, at Bears," that I really started to understand it. Almost every good story I have from the past year starts that way.
It feels weird to be sad about a bar closing, especially one that's only been open for a little over a year. After all, the bar business is fickle, and new bars open and close and open and close. Places that have been open for generations are the narrow exception, not the standard. I also realize how selfish it sounds to whine about my favorite bar closing, since I'm not the one losing my job or money because of it. So, out of respect for those people, I'm not writing this to be sad. This is a requiem--a celebration of sorts--to thank the people of Bears for some great stories.
Like this one night, at Bears, when I stopped in on a random weeknight and Cory Branan was there to rock the doors off the place. (If you don't know Cory Branan, I didn't either until then, but he's awesome, check it out).
That's the thing about Bears: it had a special combination of things, particularly the people and the music. Any night you showed up, you'd know someone there and there was going to be music.
When I conceived the idea for this post, my intention was to ask all my friends to share their favorite stories from Bears. I thought it would be easy, and everyone else would basically write the column for me. But, as I started to pick out my own favorite story, I realized it might be harder than I thought. The Cory Branan night might've been my favorite, but barely. The problem is that I've had so much fun there I couldn't isolate a particularly eventful night, and on the nights I remember having a lot of fun, I couldn't point to any particular reason why. My friends had almost identical responses:
"...every night was amazing because it felt like everyone was a big family and the bartenders were great..." --Ashley
"Just hanging out there is a good time. Never had a bad time." -- Jason
"All my stories start with 'this one night at Bears, I got too drunk and had too much fun.'" -- Alex
I'm not so naïve as to think that there won't be other bars in Shreveport that I will enjoy. The Bears diaspora will settle somewhere. Hell, the space occupied by Bears has opened and closed so many times over the years I'm sure it will reopen; but, like I've said before, this has been by far the best incarnation of it. And while I hope to find someplace soon that can duplicate what Bear's did, I don't think it's likely.
Thank you guys.