In an effort to follow the Eagles on their Manifest destiny of self-purported greatness, I’ll hit the road to enjoy the Delaware Valley on NFL Sundays. Time for the season’s shortest trip.
Week 11: Caesar’s Liquor Lounge
The Scene: Of all the establishments frequented during the 2012 season, this by far was the shortest trip…and the sleaziest. Once upon a time, Caesars was the place to be in Glassboro (or in my own mind that’s how I imagined it). Their signature? Not the cuisine or even the boos. The clientele.
Menu: Wing Zings and french fries.
Game: Philadelphia at Washington. To quote the Stones, “Because I used to love her but it’s all over now.”
The Eagles’ season is over and at this point, any trip to see them play anywhere including my couch is an exercise in futility and a form of punishment (talking to fans on Sunday emboldened this point).
Alas, since I decided to live-blog New England’s eventual castration of the Indianapolis Colts last Sunday, I decided to play a hand – a filthy one at that.
Before we jump in, a quick backstory of sorts.
Over the last four years, The Barrister, my buddy Kaz, and an assorted collection of our mutual friends have spent a part of our Christmas Eve at Caesars.
Yes, we spend the days used to celebrate the birth of Christ by frequenting one of South Jersey’s biggest hole-in-the-wall bars, that doubles as a liquor store.
At first, it was a tongue-in-cheek type gesture that served as a way to break bread at an establishment we never dared to step foot into even while we were attending college minutes down the road.
Now, it’s a tradition.
In fact, we have now thrown other occasions in for trip’s to Caesar’s. Christmas Eve is no longer enough. We celebrate football games, birthdays, and fantasy drafts there.
As mentioned earlier, the true hook is the clientele…including the wait staff.
The average customer is a grumpy 40-60 year-old-man just looking for a temporary hideout or trying to blow off some steam.
One gentlemen named Dave wasn’t exactly fond of meeting me upon one of my intial Christmas Eve visits.
For reasons I can’t imagine, he thought I would play headbanger music on the establishment’s jukebox.
“Hey, don’t play any of that headbanger music.” Dave said.
Of course, he didn’t mean The Rolling Stones of the “Let It Bleed” era or Metallica.
He meant Public Enemy, Young Jeezy, Meek Mill, or Biggie type headbangin’.
Ok, I get it. You don’t want me recreating the playlist of 106th & Park in your establishment on Christmas Eve.
But look here Pops, you haven’t seen my iPod. Don’t judge. My 547-song playlist of versatility outdoes your mixtape of Lynyrd Skynrd, Alabama, The Marshall Tucker Band, Bob Seger, and Boz Scaggs 365 days of the year.
After the “headbanger” incident, the following Christmas Eve found me there to enjoy the scenery while eating shrimp thanks to Dave.
BAR TIP #1: If your shrimp looks like it hasn’t been cleaned and appeared as if it were thrown around on the highway for 20 minutes, don’t eat it. Your stomach will thank you later.
My latest trip to Caesar’s prior to last Sunday came in August before a fantasy draft at my place.
Kaz and I were dragged into a discussion about Mitt Romney and Barack Obama. Unfortunately, this convo took place on the same night as the Democratic National Convention. Thus, political discussion was slightly difficult to avoid.
BAR TIP #2: Don’t talk politics with people.
We spoke to a clown that leaned left but clearly had issues with both sides.
A woman seated to my right whispered into my ear that she wanted to kill the guy. She happened to serve in the Gulf War and didn’t like our newfound friend’s platforms. Chill lady, this isn’t Fox and Friends. No need to discuss murdering someone as a life option.
So, I built quite the Caesars portfolio heading into Sunday.
Once I arrived last Sunday, it didn’t disappoint.
I opted to sit away from the bar in the beginning and opted to just enjoy the scenery.
Therefore, it was wrought with angst and old-man rage; just how I enjoy my football.
As always, there was that old-man rocking an uninformed opinion about sports.
One dude suggested that Joe Montana should have never played a down for the Kansas City Chiefs. Instead, Joe was supposed to retire.
The same gentlemen also complained about the amount of solid pass protection Tom Brady received over the years.
What a tool.
Elsewhere, emotion was abound in the bar.
“BE MY GIRLFRIEND. LAY ON TOP OF ME FOR A TD.”
No, that isn’t how a guy tried to pick up a woman at Caesar’s. Instead, one disgruntled fan used that line to describe the play of the Eagles secondary following the absurd Santana Moss TD that bolstered Washington’s lead.
The Redskins’ drubbing of the Eagles featured the first start of Napoleon Dynamite (Nick Foles) as Philly’s new quarterback.
Compared to Washington’s polished big-play machine Robert Griffin III, this was like comparing a Lexus to a Pinto.
Griffin’s athleticism shined while Foles wilted underneath the spotlight of playing during the dying days of the Andy Reid regime.
Washington’s whipping of the Eagles quickly exposed one of Caesar’s biggest problems.
Unfortunately, Caesar’s has a few structural flaws. For starters, they only have two TVs and no NFL Sunday Ticket.
So the poor sap wearing the Rams jacket was out of luck. He wasn’t going to see any Jets-Rams action that ran in the Philly area on the CBS affiliate.
“Hey, put on Red Zone!” yelled one gentlemen.
Sorry fella. No luck.
Instead, we were stuck with watching Napoleon Dynamite complete passes to Stanley Havili.
Once the Eagles go on the TV at Caesar’s, nothing else will do. Sadly, this wasn’t the Sunday to hold that tradition intact.
The fans in attendance at Caesar’s were frustrated but understood the situation’s depth. The 2012 Eagles were gone and the led foot Nick Foles wasn’t going to help matters.
Once the bar area cleared out after Nnamdi Asomugha and Nate Allen allowed future Hall of Famer Aldrick Robinson to run free for a touchdown, I moved in to commiserate with a guy wearing a bogus, bootleg Randall Cunningham jersey.
As he enjoyed a beer and hennessy (the bartender poured from a bottle that simply had a white label that read “hennessy” on it as if it were a generic supermarket/liquor store version) simultaneously, I picked his brain about the Eagles.
Honestly, it was tough having a legit conversation with a guy wearing a knockoff Cunningham jersey while doing the beer/hard booze combo though.
To further compound matters, he was drinking while yelling at the Eagles; while yelling at people on the phone; while talking to me about how much he couldn’t stand Andy Reid.
He had a lot on his plate it appeared but willing sat through another Philadelphia beatdown.
Only wing zings (proclaimed by a friend as “the best wings” in the area; in reality they were nothing more than fried wings you could easily find in your local supermarket’s freezer section) and french fries could soothe my soul.
Luckily, Caesar’s finally had a functional menu that didn’t involve dirty shrimp! My stomach and digestive system greatly appreciated it.
All was going well, until he walked in.
Dave sauntered in to hang out and sample some of the local color.
This time around, there wasn’t a halt on playing my favorite tunes or making me sick by serving me poorly prepared seafood.
Nope. This around the Eagles took care of making us sick once more.
FINAL: REDSKINS 31, EAGLES 6