A comfortable little dive that would be at home in St. Paul or Portland or East Rutherford, The Miller is a working man’s bar. A Sportsman’s bar. A Union man’s bar. My kind of bar. There is live blues music on the weekends. And it’s only two blocks from home. I sniff these things out like a beagle with truffles. Except of instead of finding a rare and extremely valuable fungus, I find dirty dive bars with cheap beer and disturbed inhabitants, yet also with fungus. I find them in every city in the world, it is my gift. They usually have an Irish reference in the name.
The Miller has strange hours. Sometimes it’s closed, sometimes it’s opened. There must be a pattern, but I’ve yet to figure it out. The hours schedule on the front window is regarded more as a polite suggestion than a hard and fast rule, and I like that the bartender has this discretion. I also like that so far, the bar employs women only. My Pixie Bartender does not work here. No, not young cuties, but grizzled bar maid veterans. Broads that have seen it all, that aren’t impressed by much, but who, with a respectful manner and a polite smile, will keep you in beer all night. Will keep me in beer at least, for I understand the value of my polite smile. There is usually greyhound racing on the television, and classic American rock on the stereo. They have Canterbury Draught on tap, though I’ve paid a different price each of the three times I’ve ordered it. Though it is not particularly fantastic, it will be my beer of choice in Christchurch. It feels right.
This is the sort of place where I can bring my computer, grab a pint, and knock words out by the thousands. I will be undisturbed save for refills, trips to the toilet, and the occasional confrontation with the occasional junkie. My people. Tonight there are a bunch of intramural rugby players reliving glories past. A fat and dangerous bunch if provoked, though they seem content to keep to themselves and tell war stories. There aren’t many guns in New Zealand, and stabbings are also rare. It was best described to me by a local, “if you’ve been in a punch out, you’ve probably done something to be in a punch out.” Amen. Let’s settle this like men, with sharp knuckles to the head. People don’t know about my elbows. But all I want to do is drink.
Drink and type. You and Me, Miller. We’re going to get along fine.