But he became the thing of legend for a few friends and me. The wrong drink he poured for us has become the standard beverage for us on our nights out. Well, for some of us. The 15-minute wait for our drinks has become over an hour in the many re-tellings of the story of our visit to the Holiday. The smelliest men's room ever has since become even smellier. I don't know how that is possible.
Oddly, over the past year or so we've come to love this old man even though we've only seen him that one time. He was that legendary to us. And we promised ourselves that we would to back. You know...when we had some free time to wait forever for the wrong drink.
Well, as you can probably tell by my use of the past tense in the above sentences, Stefan has passed away. But what I didn't know is that it happened over a year ago! I mean, he was still alive the night he served us. I think. But he took ill and died very shortly after our one and only visit to his bar. Reading his obituary, however, has made us want to know the man even more. He was a professional soccer player. He fought with the Russians before deserting the army after the Battle of Stalingrad. He served some famous patrons along the way including W.H. Auden, Allen Ginsberg and a certain material girl named Madonna.
Now I wish that I had found that dirty dive bar earlier. Just to sit at the bar and watch this old man sling drinks. Like I said, I only met him once, but I'm gonna miss him.
photo by Joe Margolis, The Villager
Note: Remember to play the Bug-Eyed Trivia Challenge every day. Raising a Jameson and Coke to his memory.