A visit to Hitch

As I promised yesterday, the first reader who visited the new bar Hitch, located in downtown Toronto, and quaffed Hitchens’s favorite tipple, would receive an autographed version of WEIT. Well, it didn’t take long.  One reader, who didn’t look at my post too carefully, even poured himself a shot of Mr. Walker’s amber restorative at home—in the morning.

Sadly, that didn’t cut the mustard. But alert reader George Benedik hied himself to the Hitch within hours, got his tipple (picture of bottle was required), and sent it with a brief report:

Okay, here I am, reporting from the Hitch, having a Johnnie Walker Black. Not my first choice of a drink, but as you already said, “Them’s the roolz!” The place looks nice and cozy, and the absence of a TV is certainly a plus. It doesn’t seem busy at the time (it’s only 5:15 p.m. now), but supposedly that’ll change later on. Ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends: Cheers!

Hitch

He adds that, as befits a bar of that name, there’s a library, and sent a picture of the books along with another note:

Here is a (bad) photo of their “library.” Your book is not in it, unfortunately. The owner said he’ll make sure to add it.

image 4

He’d better!

And I expect that the Canadian Atheist group in Toronto will henceforth foregather at Hitch.

21 Comments

  1. Matt Bowman
    Posted February 16, 2013 at 6:05 am | Permalink

    Congrats George! Looks like a nice place.

  2. Dermot C
    Posted February 16, 2013 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    Slaínte, santé, cheers, George!

  3. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted February 16, 2013 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    I’d missed the mention of an absence of TV, which in my opinion is one of the required characteristics of a really good bar. One of the very few locally which has the confidence to try that trick (and to maintain it after being brought over by a national pub chain) was receiving my pint-vouchers last night. And as ever, the only noise that you could hear was the sound of people talking to each other. Some may even have been thinking before talking, which should get the Thought Police thoroughly worried.
    They do relax the rule slightly on Sunday afternoons. If you want music, you can have it. You’ll have to bring along your own instrument and play it, of course, but it’s no longer verboten.
    I have a Canadian friend who’s a barmaid in Newfoundland. She’s added the hitch to her “places to go when in Toronto” list. She hates the incessant jabber of the TV in her bar. She also hates the bank of gambling machines in the corner, and the ATM next to them, which seems a particularly insane combination.

  4. George
    Posted February 16, 2013 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    The one unfortunate thing about the bar is its location. The eastern side of Toronto is not the most attractive place, although it seems to be catching up.

    And even though I had fun last night, I wished the crowd (including the bartenders and even the owner) were a little more “Hitch aficionados.” Every time I tried to bring up the topic of Hitchens, atheism, evolution, etc., I wasn’t gettin the response I hoped for. But maybe that’ll change with time.

    • Posted February 16, 2013 at 8:48 am | Permalink

      We really do not know how to do bars in the western US. I can think of only one place here without a TV, and with musical instruments lying around. The place was designed for interaction… but the owner’s hanging on by his fingernails.

  5. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted February 16, 2013 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    The bookshelf …
    From the right;
    Dawkins, “Greatest Show”
    Rushdie, “Midnight’s Children”
    “Hitch-22″, which I assume is a collection of Hitch’s essays, selected while reclining naked in a tree.
    Dawkins again, “Selfish Gene”
    “Darwin’s Dangerous Idea”
    Hitch’s “Portable Atheist”
    Rushdie, “The Ground Beneath her feet” (Is this a geological novel? I don’t recall the name.)
    Rushdie again, “The Moor’s Last Night.”

    Sounds to me like he needs to get some more science in there, and perhaps some SF too. I shall ensure that I’ve got a near-finished book if I visit, and replenish his shelf slightly.

    • gbjames
      Posted February 16, 2013 at 8:11 am | Permalink

      Excellent suggestion. I can see a little pilgrimage tradition beginning… traveling atheists stopping in for a restorative and leaving a well read volume behind.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted February 16, 2013 at 9:31 am | Permalink

        That, for years has been my habit : go out to the rig (whichever one it is this week) with several books in my rig bag ; read ; digest ; leave on rig bookshelf and take one from the bookshelf home.
        There used to be something like an “international mariners lending library” who;d send boxes of books out to whatever class of boat, each one of which contained a mailing slip for returning the book to a central clearing house, from which it would cycle back out to the next boat. Some of those had travelled round the world several times, and been heavily annotated.
        I’d forgotten about that library. Haven’t seen it for years. I remember helping a radio operator unloading the new batch one day … about 1998 … but I don’t think I’ve seen it since.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted February 16, 2013 at 8:13 am | Permalink

      re SF:- The Ground Beneath her feet does have parallel universes so you have a start

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted February 16, 2013 at 9:34 am | Permalink

        Never actually read any of Rushdie’s stuff.
        And having just started Kim Stanley Robinson (Robertson? It’s upstairs by the bed.), I’m unlikely to start his stuff any time soon.
        Which makes me think that I should check my “wishlist” on Amazon ; but before I do that, I should really think about whether I’m sufficiently ticked-off with their tax-evasion antics to continue using their service.

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted February 16, 2013 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

          Robinson is a goodish SF writer ~ he can “write” ~ I enjoyed the Mars trilogy [which I read in the mid-90s] mainly because it seemed a plausible exercise in the long term terraforming of Mars

          Most living & active writers within the genre are very limited & I struggle to find anything not populated with 2D characters. I’ve nearly given up on SF except for the Scottish SF writer Iain M Banks** I love his darkly humorous “Culture series” of space opera books particularly the first three:

          Consider Phlebas (1987)
          The Player of Games (1988)
          Use of Weapons (1990)

          He explores life, death, consciousness & politics & he even has a secular heaven in his Culture universe

          Writes also in the mainstream as Iain Banks [See The Wasp Factory]

          • gravelinspector-Aidan
            Posted February 17, 2013 at 3:18 am | Permalink

            I recently started KSR’s “Red Mars”. Which is fun, but I do not for one second believe that terraforming Mars is a credible concept. By the time that we’ve got sufficient technology to seriously approach the problem, we’ll have to have long duration (multi-generation?) space habitats, at which point, planets become, in Larry Niven’s phrase, “living at the bottom of a hole”.
            But that’s a topic for another blog. ^W Website. “Late for lunch”.
            I quite like Charlie Stross as a living SF author. That’s slightly coloured by meeting him at an EdLUG meeting and getting on well, before I knew he was an SF author. Never read any of Iain (M.) Bank’s stuff, though one of my previous marijuana dealers recommended that I try “Consider Phlebas” on several occasions. I recall “Wasp Factory” being “Book of the Week” on Radio 4 some years ago, and not being tempted into getting the book.

          • HaggisForBrains
            Posted February 17, 2013 at 5:07 am | Permalink

            The Culture series is excellent, and well written by a fertile imagination. I can recommend Surface Detail for its interesting take on the concept of hell, but I wouldn’t recommend it as a first foray into The Culture.

    • Posted February 16, 2013 at 8:35 am | Permalink

      Yup… needs some Dennett, Harris, and Stenger (at least) to round out the science/philosophy section. Good start, though.

      • George
        Posted February 16, 2013 at 8:42 am | Permalink

        IIRC, Harris was there, but I am not sure what book it was–the place is really dark.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted February 16, 2013 at 8:49 am | Permalink

      What I see
      01] Dawkins: The greatest Show
      02] Hitchens: god is not Great
      03]
      04]
      05] Rushdie: Midnight’s Children
      06] Hitchens: Hitch-22
      07] Darwin: The Origin of Species
      08] Dawkins: The Selfish Gene
      09] Dennett: Darwin’s Dangerous Idea
      10] Amis: London Fields
      11] McEwan:
      12]
      13] McEwan: Enduring Love
      14] Hitchens: Portable Atheist
      15] Rushdie: The Ground Beneath her feet
      16] Rushdie: The Moor’s Last Sigh
      17]
      18]
      19] Sagan maybe?

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted February 16, 2013 at 9:36 am | Permalink

        Ah, embiggened picture. Forgot about that.

      • Posted February 16, 2013 at 10:48 am | Permalink

        I think 11 is Atonement. Is there another thin book between 15 and 16, or is it just the edge of the cover image of 15?

        Some of the others seem like they have just barely enough detail preserved that it might be possible for someone who has the same edition of the same book to recognize them.

  6. Alektorophile
    Posted February 16, 2013 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    Salute, prosit, zum Wohl, cin cin, George.

    Indeed, absence of a tv and presence of books is a good sign indeed for a bar, as is the absence of loud music.

  7. James Walker
    Posted February 16, 2013 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    I’m in Brazil for the next week but I’ll be sure to visit when I’m back home in Toronto!

    • George
      Posted February 16, 2013 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

      If anyone is interested to meet for a drink at the Hitch next time you’re in Toronto, let me know. You can find me anytime on CFI forums. (www.centerforinquiry.net/forums/)


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