Day Drinker: The Simple Life at Harvey's Wineburger

Who says you have to wait until the sun goes down to have a good time?

Pulling up to Harvey's Wineburger for the bar's 10:30 opening on a sunny morning feels a lot like seeing a charming old friend: the red and purple crown on the sign by the road; the "ATM available" sign near the door; the mural of a guy wearing goggles while stomping on grapes and holding a hamburger in his hand; and the rusty coffee can in the corner under a sign that says, "Park Your Butts Here!"

Truth be told, I'd been to Harvey's numerous times in the past. Good people here. On Thanksgiving Day a couple of years ago, they even served free holiday dinners to the regulars by letting them back into what must be the tiniest kitchen in town to help themselves to turkey with all the trimmings. Good people.

As I walk in with my Day Drinker play-date Ronda, our old friend Harvey does not disappoint. Two TVs, a pinball machine, and a couple of beer signs provide the only light in the joint, barely illuminating the dark paneling and Colonial-style furniture (sans burnt-orange seat covers) that seemingly everyone in 1960s featured in their dining rooms. In the back room, a pool table, skeet bowling, and more electronic games stand at the ready on bare, cement floors. The grill isn't on yet to mask that familiar musty-basement smell. As we take our seats at the bar next to a couple of regulars, we start the morning off with a couple of bloody Mary's -- extra spicy, lots of olives.

"Sorry, Sweetie, we don't have any olives."

"Are you out?"

"No, we just don't have them. We're a simple place."

No olives, no money.
That's our bartender, Shelly. Brown eyes, dimples. She smiles and moves around so much that we can't get a good look at her. When we tell her our names, she repeats them and, with her hands held low, she signs each letter of our names. Curious. We ask her what gives.

She blushes, "Sorry, I'm going to school to learn be an interpreter for the deaf - I like to practice whenever I can."

Shelly tells us about her "menopausal moment." It happened about a year ago, when she went to the doctor and told him she thought she was going crazy because she was irritable and couldn't sit still. That's when he gave her the best advice she'd ever received.

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