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‘But were you at the Burning of The Met?’
We were seated next to each other at a wine dinner, where-because RI can be a very small place-we each seemed to know everyone else in the room. But we didn’t know each other; we’d never even met.
We’d both been in school there in the 80’s, so the conversation quickly turned to bands, bars, and general shenanigans. Did you hang out at The Last Call? The Living Room? Did you like Steve Smith & The Nakeds? The Schemers? Were you at Lupo’s for that Eric Burdon & The Animals show? What was your favorite Roomful lineup? Yeah, they were never as good after Ronnie Earl left. We reminisced, agreed, disagreed, but ultimately came to this conclusion: the ultimate Rhody bar had been the old Met Cafe, a genial dive bar in the Jewelry District that attracted first local and then national acts. But when the Rhode Island School of Design decided they had more need for a parking lot than a bunch of rowdy rock fans, the owner hosted one last killer concert-The Burning of the Met-and the old bar went out in a blaze of glory. Were you there?
‘Yeah-what an amazing night! You?’
‘Of course- I was just thinking about it because a friend sent me this picture last week…’ He pulled out his phone, to show me a picture of him standing at the crowded bar. And right behind his left shoulder was me, 80s version: big hair, Flashdance-style T, hoop earrings. Small world!
I was thinking of that night this week, after a particularly great supplier tasting. George had set it up. His friend Peter was coming to town. He had some new vintages. Was I around Tuesday? Did I know Peter? Did I want to join them? Yes, no, and yes.
George ended up having car trouble, so Peter arrived solo. Inside 10 minutes, we discovered we knew all the same people. What’s more, we clearly also have some wines in common. He brought a fascinating little Grechetto, a graceful Macon, a pungent Pouilly Fume, and a brace of Bordeaux. The whole lineup was great, and the prices were incredible. I’ve ordered some already, and will add others as we get into cooler weather. I sense the beginning of something wonderful.
Because no matter how small, my world can always make room for great wine.