My Wednesday night ritual of watching “Best Bars” has begun again!
Other shows I can let sit unwatched on the DVR for a week or two, but “Best Bars In America” is something I not only love to watch right when I get out of work on Wednesdays — but also study.
The show is in its second season on the Esquire Network, and the first episode of Season Two aired last night at 9 p.m. — with Jay and Sean visiting San Francisco for the second time.
I’m not going to lie — I’m a sucker for anything booze-related. The same with writers and journalists. Chances are, if you get me started watching a movie about a bartender or reporter — I’ll have to finish it. And in the absence of “Best Bars,” during the recent lull between Season 1 and Season 2, I tried to fill my time with other shows. I caught up on Esquire’s “Brew Dogs,” which I love equally — and I developed a fondness for National Geographic’s travel booze show “Chug,” though that one always leaves me wanting more.
The New York Times wrote this piece a while back about what they called the current “renaissance” of booze-related television programming.
I’m not sure if I’d call it a renaissance exactly. There certainly were a bunch of shows that popped up all at once and while I haven’t watched all of ’em yet, I do have my favorites.
For my money though, “Chug” is pretty decent. I like Zane Lamprey a lot. And the one-off feature on the Smithsonian Channel called “United States Of Drinking” was alright, but doesn’t need to be its own series. I’ve still got all the episodes of the Travel Channel’s “Booze Traveller” to plow through, and this is exactly what I was writing about earlier — other shows will sit unwatched on my DVR for great lengths of time, but “Best Bars In America” is too enjoyable for me not to watch it right away.
I realize this might not be the case for everyone. You’ve gotta like the host or hosts of a travel show to want to stick with it. I felt sort of indifferent to the “United States of Drinking” one-off and stuck with it only because I’m a fiend for such programming.
With Esquire’s “Best Bars” though, I not only like the hosts as hosts, but my ideas of funny are in line with their style of comedy. The show is pretty slickly-produced and I enjoy the soundtrack that accompanies the video roll of all the bars they visit, as well as their choices of bars in general. I’ve got a dual love for both shots-and-beer bars as well as high-concept craft cocktail bars. I got into this industry as a barback/DJ at a rock bar in a college town and now tend bar at a fun and eclectic upscale place in Jamestown.
But I’m beating around the bush, blathering about the music and bar selection on the show. What’s really important is the focus they put on people in the industry — whether they be ultra-creative bartenders at craft joints in big cities or people who’ve been working the stick all their lives in watering holes all across America. Despite the differences in what specifically they’re each serving, there’s a commonality between all the bartenders shown — they’re not just serving drinks, they’re all serving people.
And sorry that those aren’t clickable links. That’s just a screen capture I grabbed from Tender’s Twitter post.