Shooting at The OxShooting at The Ox
Meghan at DCBlogs was kind enough to ask me to share one of my photos for the DC Blogs header this past week. It's a long, narrow slice from a much larger photo that you can see below:
This photo and its friends below was taken at The Ox, or Oxford Inn in Missoula, Montana. The Ox is a fantastic bar, possibly the second-best bar I've ever been to. No fewer than 24 rifles adorn the space on the wall above the bar, and a poker game starts ever night at 5 and goes past dawn. Until very recently the diner in the back did a brisk business in burgers, brains and eggs.
I was told by the bartender to make sure and ask any patrons if they minded my taking their picture -- he said that even if they weren't in it, I might get my camera smashed on principle otherwise. The bartender himself was a very gregarious, friendly guy, and tougher than buffalo chewing on barbed wire. When he wasn't tending bar, he taught men how to jump out of airplanes in order to fight forest fires.
An effervescent gentleman sitting next to me jabbed me in the shoulder with his thumb while I was fiddling with my camera and said "Hey man, where you from?"
"Here we go," I thought, and told him.
"ALRIGHT! D.C!! Who wants shots?" he replied. None of us did. It was three in the afternoon, for Christ's sake. Bobbing and weaving, the man grabbed a beer on the bar to steady himself. He took a long gulp to reward himself for staying upright.
"Bobby, for Christ's fucking sake," the bartender shouted "is that your beer?"
"Yes," Bobby replied indignantly. "I paid you for it and everything!"
"Bullshit," the bartender shouted. He turned to the five or six other patrons in the bar. "Whose beer is this? Is this anyone's beer?" A woman in the back claimed it, saying she'd finish it in a minute.
"That's it, get the fuck out," the bartender yelled. "I am sick and fucking tired of telling you every goddamned week not to drink any beer but your own, so get OUT!" With this, he began shoving, and kicking Bobby out the door, to minimal protest. Bobby had played this game before, it seemed.
"You guys want them PBRs from a pitcher?" the bartender asked, dusting his hands off. "Ain't but four dollars a pitcher that way."
We were practically MAKING money at that price. Somebody put Kenny Loggins on the jukebox. I took more pictures. The afternoon was a success, I must say.
Two pitchers later, a familiar character shuffled into the bar. It was Bobby again, with giant sunglasses and a hat on, his collar turned up. He didn't make it to a stool.
I have been to only one bar better than the Ox, and I'll tell you, people, it was a close race.