My home away from home with great company, every night of the week.
Bar du Central is, without question, my "great good place." Right next door to our apartment, my roommate, Maggie and I frequently stop in at BdC (as we have nicknamed it). A small and cozy restaurant, BdC is open from 7am-2:30am. It is a neighborly place, and everyone knows everyone. I am there without fail, at least once a day. Whether I've stopped in to say hello to the manager Sebastien, and a server Remi, who have both become my good friends, to have coffee with Maggie, to campout and do homework, or to have drinks before going out, you can count on finding me there.
Yet, as ambitious as I sometimes hope to be upon entering BdC, getting work done there is a lost cause. Remi jokingly refers to working at Bar du Central as being trapped in the movie "Groundhog Day." Like I said, it's a very neighborly place and everyone seems to be one big family there, or a large group of friends at the very least. And even though I'm there at least once a day, I'm not sure I've even reached "regular" status yet because it seems like everyone is there at least once a day, and generally for far longer than I am. They also have several years of loyalty to BdC on me. Maggie and I are by far, the youngest Bar du Central regulars, and probably represent 85% of the female population to frequent BdC. Yes, that's right, it's an old-man bar. And you can't sit there for longer than fifteen minutes without being engaged in a friendly conversation with a familiar face.
Let me tell you about some of the characters of Bar du Central, who I have gotten to know these past two months:
Sebastien (Seb)- As already mentioned, he is the manager of Bar Du Central, and he was the main attraction that drew us into Bar du Central, our very first night out in Paris. I mean that quite literally, Maggie and I saw him, and our hearts chased after--he is a very beautiful, very French man. As we have gotten to know him better, he's really just a goofball. His English is… okay, but our French is better. Him and I sit with each other whenever he has down time at the bar and speak, he in English, I in French, because we both want to learn.
Remi- One of the servers at BdC, and also Sebastien's best friend, Remi is a sarcastic guy. Him and I can banter off each other for quite some time, and he's much more of a "bad boy" than Seb, or so he would like you to believe. His English is superb because he lived and worked in Australia for six months last year.
Tomas- Another server at BdC. He just celebrated his 28th birthday on Tuesday, with us, at Bar du Central, of course! Maggie and I haven't gotten to know Tomas as well as Remi and Seb, but he's a jolly man, and always so pleased to see us.
Peter- Peter is an interesting fellow. Many BdCers refer to him as the "wise old man." In his late 60s, Peter rocks a ponytail, a long beard, and always an oversized sweater. He shows up around 10pm for drinks… he might always be drunk. He has told both Maggie and I, on separate occasions, his life story: an elaborate tale that links his heritage to King Henri IV. I'm not one to say he's lying. Hw truly is a wise man, and can make some provoking statements. He enjoys betting on horse races. One night, he told Maggie and I this was his only vice; we asked him what he considered his excessive drinking and smoking to be.
Alexi- In his 70s, Alexi is a classy man. Some might say he has swagger. He is very friendly and very generous. His English is non-existent, he might speak French, and he definitely speaks Italian. Seb always says he's the "Godfather" of Paris. This is probably a joke, but it just might be true.
I can spend hours talking to these guys, and I always learn so much from them. They aren't necessarily friendships because I'm not sure I would ever hang out with any of them outside of BdC, they're more like distant family friends, in that they are always checking up on me and what I'm up to in Paris, that consistency that is so hard to find when abroad.
The food is delicious, yet I hardly ever eat there. Hilariously. Seb and Remi always insist that we should never eat there. This is because sadly, BdC is horribly overpriced. Still, you can find me there any day of the week, just hanging out, sometimes buying coffee, but usually not spending a dime, because even though it's a business, Bar du Central has welcomed Maggie and I into "the family."