You CAN go home again...
Please pardon this post. I'm incredibly hungover.
Because I went to the Abbey last night... and it's a pleasure to be able to say that sentence again.
The Abbey, definitely my favorite beer-hole on 16th between Alton and Lenox, has been shuttered for repairs for the better part of a year, re-opening briefly, only to close down again for remodeling.
I'm thrilled to announce that it has re-opened, and the ownership has done their best to preserve the character.
It's twice the size, a little brighter, a little less smokey, the bathrooms have been redone, so there are no longer cowboy doors on the Men's room door, no longer cheesy 1990s broken tile mosaic on the floor, and no longer carve-able wooden walls, and the added floorspace to the bar lends itself to hipsters getting noisy and rowdy, but all in all, it's the same place that we've always known and loved, just twice the size.
What seems to have happened is they just pushed the western wall over to the western wall of the adjoining bay. The original pews and tables are still there, and the pews still hurt your head when you smash it against the arched pointy corner, from laughing. They've added some communal seating, some free-standing tables, and a big boxy boothy couch-area... they've also locked the original front door so that people can now play darts, un-impeded by people walking through the front door (it also means that you don't risk an eye walking into the place) and bumped the door one bay over... but all in all, there seems to have been a careful eye for details to keep it looking as dingy as it used to look, down to picking glass for the lamp-shades that's speckled to make it look dusty and dirty.
But best of all, Aaron, the friendly bartender I've come to know and love is still there. I was so happy to see him, I gave him a hug.
So, go there, before they get their liquor license, and things change. Have a gallon of IPA and laugh your ass off with your friends about crashing weddings, with a vomiting hangover, dressed in a tulip costume.
I was a little cautious walking in and adjusting to the fact that the place looks exactly the same and completely different...but by the time I left... hammered... as usual.. I was content in the fact that the Abbey is back. And bigger than ever. While it now lacks the dark, dirty, time-stands-still intimacy it used to have, you no longer have to jostle for a beer or pounce on a table for seating. And on the balance, I'm too glad it's back to bemoan the fact that the place has become vastly less inconvenient (I liked everything about the old Abbey, including the lack of seating and the smokiness...). Hooray, Abbey! Welcome back to life! And never leave us again.