What I Saw At Bar Hemingway That Left Me Hopeful
“Let’s go,” Rob said to me.
“Where?” I asked.
“To Bar Hemingway, of course.”
As a huge Hemingway fan, I was immediately excited.
Taking an Uber from beautiful Montmartre, we pull up to the Ritz Hotel Paris, the home of Bar Hemingway. A watering hole Hemingway frequented almost daily in Paris.
Feeling underdressed entering the ornate lobby, we walk into the Ritz like we belong.
I stop at the bathroom.
With gold finishes and marble everything, the bathroom felt like a ballroom.
Washing my hands, I grab a crisp, yet plush white linen towel to dry off.
A big change from obnoxiously loud hand dryers I’m accustomed.
Stepping out of the bathroom, Rob is nowhere in sight.
“Where is he?” I wonder.
Looking for him, I follow signs to Bar Hemingway down a long, winding white marbled hallway.
The walls lined with beautiful back-lit display cases, each showcasing a beautiful gown, sparkling jewelry or a high end purse.
I whip out my camera to capture video for my vlog, briefly forgetting my mission to find Rob.
I come across a Kate Spade display.
Unknowing of the tragedy soon to occur.
“Jack,” I hear Rob’s frustrated voice calling from behind.
“I waited by the women’s bathroom forever,” he says, clearly annoyed.
My filming doesn’t help the matter.
He hates my excessive filming, as he is currently writing a book on presence and believes it distracts me.
“I didn’t see you,” I reply unapologetically.
He walks past me and I follow, purposely filming to annoy him further.
Him being annoyed with me, has me annoyed with him.
This is typical for us.
We get annoyed but five minutes later it’s like it never happened.
We are best friends again.
We get to Bar Hemingway.
As I start to walk in, Rob takes a detour into the bar directly across.
“What are you doing?” I ask. “Bar Hemingway is over here,” I say, pointing to the entrance.
It looks crowded,” he says.
Annoyed at the detour, I reluctantly follow him to not Bar Hemingway.
The cocktail menu reads, “The Ritz Bar.”
“How generic,” I think, still annoyed at the detour.
Ordering a bottle of wine, we chat with the barkeep until last call.
“Last call, is Bar Hemingway still opened?” I ask anxiously.
“Yes,” replies the bartender, “but only for another hour.”
We quickly settle our bill and walk across the hall to Bar Hemingway, the main attraction.
Walking in, Hemingway memorabilia is everywhere, but it’s far from gaudy.
The bar is softly lit, with wooden bar stools, tan wooden walls, black leather chairs and gold accents.
“Vintage manliness,” I thought to myself.
We take two seats in the far corner of the room, at the end of the surprisingly quiet bar.
I lock eyes with the bartender.
After years of waiting tables, I recognize a tired bartender instantly.
She’s clearly ready to call it a night.
After ten minutes, she comes over.
I ask for a menu, she hands me a vintage looking newspaper.
Taking a quick look, I order a raspberry martini.
Not a typical order, but I’m not at a typical bar.
Despite wearing yoga pants and a jean jacket, I’m feeling fancy.
Rob orders a bourbon cocktail. “He must being feeling fancy too,” I think.
I hand the bartender my credit card indicating we don’t intend to overstay our welcome.
Her face relaxes and her mood softens, appreciating the gesture
A few minutes later, she returns with my martini.
Dark pink, chilled in crystal stemware and garnished with a light pink rose.
“It’s too pretty to drink,” I say.
Rob’s amber hued bourbon follows, neat in a lowball.
I notice the similarities between Rob and his drink.
Manly and simple, harsh with a sweet finish, straight and to the point.
Rob and I chat about Hemingway, Fitzgerald and Stein.
Both wishing we could go back in time to hobnob with the great writers of the past.
I notice two blonde women sitting at the bar beside us.
Two women with light blue eyes and sharp features mixed with a huge age gap, indicate a mother and her daughter.
Laughing and having a good time, you could tell they were at least couple rounds deep.
Feeling our own bottle of wine and cocktails, we begin to chat.
The daughter complained about their shitty Airbnb.
The mother shared about her daughter’s beautiful wedding.
And most striking, they shared being on their yearly mother/daughter trip.
I couldn’t help but feel slightly envious.
A relationship I’ll never experience with my own mother.
But underneath the envy was genuine happiness for them.
We laughed, took pictures and shared stories until last call, at which point we said our goodbyes and well wishes.
“I’m going to the bathroom,” Rob said.
“I’ll wait here.”
At the bar alone, martini in one hand and spinning the rose with the other, I had a realization.
Although watching the mother and daughter relationship made me sad, it opened my eyes.
I saw firsthand that mother’s and daughter’s can be friends.
Slowly finishing my raspberry martini, I became hopeful.
Hopeful that if I ever have a daughter, that she and I will be friends.
And that one day, I can bring her to these wooden bar stools and laugh with her.
And tell stories about her parents and their crazy adventures.