I walk in on a sunny Tuesday afternoon, stepping into a room that instantly swallows me in shadows. My only illumination comes from the glistening trinkets cascading the perimeter, beckoning like fireflies.
“Come in; sit anywhere you like” says one of the silhouettes behind the counter. Two other shadows occupy a corner table of the room, conversing the day’s topics. I wasn’t there for a palm reading, and it wasn’t at a remote location. Actually, I had stopped in at the local bar, the Oak Cafe, just past the tracks from downtown Wyandotte.
When my eyes finally adjust to the tavern style dimness I’m greeted with their treasure trove of decor: every inch of their walls covered with posters, gadgets, sports memorabilia, even a jukebox. Lining the ceiling are rows of beer tap handles, a testament to their extensive beer inventory. Suitably, what takes up the most room is their draft list menu–a 7′ by 4′ poster.
I taste two of the many brew options and choose my poison.
That hits the spot! A ‘Plead the Fifth’ by Dark Horse Brewery. 14 ounces of deep, rich, high-gravity goodness. I savor every sip, waiting for my better half to join me. As I do, another of their treasures calls out to me.
“Is that old-school register fully functioning?” I asked (I talk like a dork. It can’t be helped).
Old-school register: think mid 1900’s era with protruding buttons and the ‘ch-ching’ noise.
“Yes it is,” said my bartender, Melissa. “We have another one that works as back-up. We call a guy in the area who can fix them, probably the only guy in town who knows how,” she laughs.
A quick scroll through their online reviews and its plain to see that its antiquity causes more trouble than just mechanical errors. Customers complain about the ‘cash only’ rule it necessarily imposes. Yet this is the true beauty of the Oak Cafe, sacrificing modern convenience for aestheticism and atmosphere. It “really ties the room together,” as The Dude would say.
What’s not to love about that?
And clearly it works. All types visit the Oak Cafe, especially as the day progresses. Beer enthusiasts come for the umpteen variations of rotating craft and import beers. The young and trendy come for the vibe. Sports fans get their satisfaction from the multitude of sports channels and memorabilia displayed. Even veteran drinkers associate among their greenhorn bar-goers. All of them united under one roof as God intended.