In the past few days, two iconic bars have closed their doors for good. Last night, local's favourite Citta said goodbye to their loyal customers with a send off that, of course, involved nudity. This is Whistler, after all. Wouldn't be right without a wang hangin' out. I, unfortunately, was working, and by the time I had finished, there was not a drop of alcohol to be had in the place. $3.75 drinks will do that to a place.
Last week, the bar where I made a lot of memories in my formative drinking years did the same. Portsmouth's Registry (known as the Reg, nerd) has been closed to create student accommodation for the university nearby. This makes me sadder than I thought it would. As a student bar, The Reg was perfect: roomy, cheap, right next door to many of the school facilities, and welcoming. As I think about it now, I spent countless nights there growing up, met more than one girl willing to go home with me, and was an ideal place for the eventual yet inevitable catch up with the old college crew whenever I made the trek across the ocean to say hi.
Bars and restaurants close every damn day, but these two have made me realise the passage of time - both from when I was in my late teens, and the years I have spent here in the mountains. Citta was one of those places that had the killer patio and the staff that were longterm, so they knew how it is in Whistler, but not jaded by the lifestyle. Working across the street, I used to love running over when we were quiet and saying hi, confident that there would be at least one handshake from both sides of the bar. Yesterday afternoon, I had my last beer at Citta, and the mood was a weird one. It was too early in the day for things to get really rowdy, so the realisation was setting in for some. It honestly felt like a wake, with the hugs, and "thanks for coming in"s, which I felt weren't just meant for that day, but for the custom over the years.
A mere name does not a bar make. Time will tell, when they re-open as The Beacon next month, if this cameraderie will have remained in the building. Some people in town are against it, firmly invested in our memories. But those memories will keep people coming back to that same patio no matter what happens with the Powers That Be. I'm sure more than one person will be back in their role, offering friendly faces to former regulars and new ones. And yes, I will head over and introduce myself, hoping to still have friendly neighbours.
Thank you to both The Registry and Citta for not kicking me out when I probably should have been. Thanks for being there for meetups, heartbreaks, and long nights. Thanks for stories that I'll re-tell over cold beer on other patios, spilled beer on the tables that the tears from laughing will splash into.
Just... thanks, I guess.