A sign advertises that Watson's Bar and Grill is now serving food, but no one in this south-county bar's eating at 7:30 p.m. It's just beer.
In one case a bottle of Bud poured into an ice-filled mug.
He sits at the base of the U-shape bar, smoking Kools and drinking his extra-cool beer. He talks to everyone, asking each newcomer about the weather in a manner that suggests he knows damn well what the weather's like; he just wants the conversation.
Two middle-aged guys sit next to him on the shortest end of the bar, buying each other drinks, cackling and telling each other they'll talk tomorrow night at the bar once again. "I can't leave yet," one says before they leave. "I haven't used my best line on Sharon yet."
Sharon, the bartender, looks at him. "Should I be taking notes?"
They're replaced by two younger guys who great each other with an intricate series of handshakes, stopping shy of chest-bumping.
The desperate talker asks them about the weather, then talks to Sharon about how his job went smoke-free this week, as she lights a cigarette.
"Did you quit smoking?" he asks her.
She lifts her cigarette from the ashtray and takes a deep drag. "Only since the last puff," chortles a man sitting on one of the long sides of the bar.
Of course, the desperate talker brings up the upcoming smoking ban. Sharon explains that the bar will still allow smoking because of some loophole she doesn't understand. Another loophole means they'll have to close on Sundays. No one seems to understand why.
While many bar employees are happy about the ban, Sharon isn't. It means she'll lose a shift a week.
The owners arrive: an older couple who seems to know the five people seated around the U. They settle in with cans of Bud Light to watch the Billikens basketball game with a man who'd silently played video poker all evening. The desperate talker quiets, too, and Watson's settles into a near-silence rare for a bar.
Watson's Bar & Grill 7940 Watson Road Marlborough 314-961-8522
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