After our interesting experience at the recent Steve Cohen Town Hall meeting, The Daughter and I thought we'd seek out other local liberals. I had read about the Drinking Liberally group on a blog a while back, so I looked them up and we went. I knew where the place was, parking was no problem and the group was meeting just inside the door. So far, so good.
It went downhill from there.
The bartender took us over to the group, saying, "I've got some new folks for you." The tables were already pretty full, and we sat in the first available seats we came to: on the side at the end of the table next to a man with a cute little boy. The bartender pulled another table up to make room for more folks, took our order (he was great) and told us where the patio was. We sat there for a while before anyone spoke to us, but one guy did get up and come down to where we were to introduce himself. He was cordial and asked how we learned about the meeting. Sometime during the hour and 15 minutes we were there, a couple of other folks who came introduced themselves; but everyone who came scooted in to sit next to the people at the other end of the table. No one ever did sit down at the table that had been added next to us. The guy next to me turned completely sideways in his chair so that his back was to me, making it impossible for me to see past him or hear anything that was said on the other side of him. The guy across from me was apparently new, too, and he told us he was interested in learning more about politics. He was there with his sister (I think), who talked with the folks at the other end of the table. There was no one seated to his left across from The Daughter. These people seem like they all already know each other and may not be used to strangers coming who have never met any of them before. We felt "really awkward" to quote The Daughter. They don't seem to object to strangers sitting at their table, but we figure it's probably a private group in actual practice -at least, it felt closed to us sitting where we were.
As we left I told them it had been nice to have met them, and they smiled in a sociable way, but I don't think they'll miss us when we never go back. The bartender seemed interested in having us come back. That's nice.
8/13/2009: I see this mention of the event at LeftWingCracker. I think the woman he identifies as "Kelly, the author of THE MEMPHIS LIBERAL" might have been the sister of the man who sat across from me, though I never heard her name mentioned last night. Her report of the meeting is here. It's evident, then, that they aren't a closed group and that they do welcome some newcomers. Sitting behind that guy's back where we couldn't see or hear anybody except for the guy sitting across from me (nice as he was) was just a bad place to be.
8/14/2009: LeftWingCracker is inviting everybody to Drinking Liberally at RP Billiards to visit with gubernatorial candidate Jim Kyle.