Here is the complete bar series. I shot this stuff in 1999, and was so over the project when I was done that I burned all the negatives.
Every time the door swings open, all eyes reach discreetly in that direction hoping a familiar shape will fill the doorway. Strangers are greeted with indifference on thinly veiled disappointment from the babble around the bar, a friendly bartender their only salvation. Friends are greeted with smiles, handshakes and a certain amount of relief.
There comes a point each night when things begin to swim, when everything gains a certain easy liquid quality. One or two beers has become five or six, with some whiskey added to the mix, and everything becomes soft, gellid and deceptively graceful.
The restaurant crews are generally the best customers a bartender can hope for. They arrive around midnight, one at a time, or in droves with relieved smiles pockets full of cash and succinct and knowledgeable drinking habits. The presence or absence of these friends can make or break an evening socially and financially.
Conversations braid themselves across shoulders and under chins, words skipping the ears of one person to command the attention of the next. Smiles float around the words of the eyes of someone further away.
There is little some of us find in life that is as comfortable as our regular bar. No matter how intrusive the atmosphere may become, the barstools are tantamount to lazy boys and the conversation abundant. Each of us has a story in our posture, elbow atop bar, cigarette smouldering, drink sweating.