For half a century, early in December our Mythopoeic Society book discussion group has held an annual Reading and Eating Meeting. We gather for a potluck meal and then take turns reading short selections around the (once real, later theoretical) fire. But we have lost our (almost) invariable hosts. Amy died last spring and Edith moved back to her original home town of Buffalo. Nobody left has a large enough living room for the meal as well as the people, and since I've also inherited Edith's position as secretary (I was already the only person keeping track of meeting dates anyway), it was up to me to find a solution.
Somebody suggested that we rent a private room in a restaurant. Somebody had a suggestion: an Irish pub up the Peninsula that says it will rent out rooms or the whole restaurant. I asked for other suggestions. I got just one, but it's no longer open for lunch and we want to meet in the daytime, so that's out.
I'd never been to this pub, so I decided to check it out physically before I enquired. I knew about where it was, but I hadn't memorized the street number.
I couldn't find it.
I went to the nearest public library and looked the pub's address up on the computer. Turned out its sign was small and obscure, and was anyway hidden behind the awning that covers the outside tables.
Then I couldn't get in the restaurant. The entire place was being rented out that day, except for the outside tables. I sat at one of the outside tables and ordered a hamburger, which was pretty good. So was the bottle of Irish cider I had with it, despite the fact that the very young, very green server didn't know what "cider" was.
I had to come back later. I was free last Tuesday, but then I thought, it's Halloween so who knows what might be going on. I finally got there on Saturday, when they open early. This time I ordered the Irish breakfast. Don't tell the Irish this, but it's pretty much the same thing as an English breakfast, with the bacon and sausage and beans and black pudding and eggs and tomato and potatoes. It was very hearty and not totally unworthy of the name. So on the basis of two meals I give them a plus on food.
And I asked about reserving a room. This time I got the manager on duty, so the conversation was definitive. Turns out there's just one room, it's in the back and seats 20. Didn't look well ventilated. I was assured it's quiet, but that remains to be seen. They asked for a guarantee of ten attendees. I'm not at all sure we'll get that many, but I'm prepared to cover the cost of the non-appearers if there aren't. I'm just not sure if this is going to work very well.
Another reason it may not work is parking. It's in a very crowded downtown. Parking, if you can find any, is limited to two hours. That's not long enough for us. All I can say is that my own experience in the area outstaying the shorter limits on other parking spaces has not gotten me a ticket, so they don't appear to be very vigilant.
However, it is just a few blocks from a BART station, so people coming from BART direction can walk if they're willing to walk that far, or drivers can park in the BART garage, where there is no effective time limit on weekends.
Four weeks to the meeting, so I'll let you know how it goes.