The Drinking Fountain

The Drinking Fountain is in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston. It's one of those old-school drinking saloons that are fast disappearing these days and are being replaced with glitzy steel-and-glass type places all across the country. The Drinking Fountain has the good fortune to be on the same block as two other very renowned JP bars, the famous Doyle's and the Midway Cafe.

Doyle's has been open for over a hundred years, and it's said that when prohibition was proclaimed, it closed for two days to retool into a speakeasy. Politicans regularly stop by to press palms. Doyle's is actually a good bar food restaurant, but it's terrible as a real bar. The Midway is small, dark, has loud bad live music and has probably the highest density of angry lesbians this side of the Rockies.

But now to the real attraction, the Drinking Fountain.

When you walk in, you notice that the ceilings are low and so is the lighting. A good start. Then you notice that they have a dedicated lottery girl in there and a vending machine that dispenses scratch tickets. That, combined with the mess of Keno/lottery/scratch tickets on the floor should tell you something of the clientele, blue collar heaven. The crowd, every time i've been in there has always been a good racial mix, black, latino, whites, all getting along fairly well, because they're there for one purpose only: to gamble away whatever money they haven't drank away.

The place itself is a sort of shambles, it could definitely use renovation; but that's the mark of sleazy bars the world over. There is a pool table, the obligatory Golden Tee is in the corner, and they have a jukebox that i don't think has been updated since CDs first came out. The drinks are cheap, and if you want something fancy like, say, a highball, you better be prepared to explain it to the bartender. There's no food, but they do have chips and nuts.

The real charme of the place just lies in being there and soaking up the atmosphere, watching the drunk guy sleeping with his head on the bar, watching the two elderly black ladies tear up their 30th Keno ticket and sucking down their fourth whiskey and water, watching the Latinos at the pool table argue over whether that was a scratch or not. For an authentic experience, this place can't be beat.

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