There are few bars that can impress beer lovers like el Bait Shop. With more than 100 beers on tap and another 170 in bottles, they will have a brew you like. Almost every night you’ll find the place packed, with nary a mixed drink to be seen.
8:04 p.m. I arrive at el Bait Shop. The patio is surprisingly underpopulated considering the nice weather, but the bar’s side garage door is open to let indoor customers enjoy the spring air.
8:05 p.m. I walk inside to the sounds of “Good Lovin’ ” being performed by Infuzion (“With a Z” the singer tells the crowd, which is very helpful to note-taking journalists). Nearly every booth and table in the place is occupied, so I head up to the bar and order a Boulevard Rye on Rye.
8:09 p.m. A bartender walks by carrying the tiny, now-empty glasses of a beer flight. Once upon a time I had a notion of trying to sample every beer at el Bait Shop (over an extended period of time, I’m not suicidal). A beer flight seems like a good way to make a dent in the list.
8:15 p.m. A customer walks over and asks a female bartender if she’s a beer drinker. Really? Does he think el Bait Shop hires a lot of people whose favorite drink is a cosmopolitan?
8:17 p.m. Someone at a table behind me knocks over their chair. “We have belts available for the high schoolers,” the Infuzion singer says. Infuzion talks a bit about The Band’s Levon Helm and his struggle with cancer before launching into “Up on Cripple Creek.”
8:20 p.m. It’s a little loud, but I think a woman just asked the bartender about cocktails, and he may have suggested they try Star Bar. Again, it’s loud, I may be off on that.
8:25 p.m. A guy next to me attempts to walk away from the bar carrying three differently shaped beer glasses. I hope the floor is thirsty.
8:34 p.m. I notice the bar’s shower (yes, el Bait Shop has a shower) is blocked off by a table. I wonder how many times drunken customers have ended up soaking wet?
8:43 p.m. The band encourages the audience to support the bar staff by giving them “a big ass tip.” Good suggestion.
8:54 p.m. Infuzion mentions playing a new song for some friends from the U.K. and invites people up to dance since it’s a slower number. I’m pretty sure it’s “Sara Smile” by Hall & Oates. I decide to make my exit.
Outside many more people are now enjoying the patio in almost complete darkness.
el Bait Shop
Find it: 200 S.W. Second St.
Hours: 11 a.m.-2 a.m. daily
Info: 284-1970; elbaitshop.com